Zondo guns for Zuma, Cele, Malema and Lynne Brown — here's what you need to know

20 October 2020 - 06:49
By cebelihle bhengu AND Cebelihle Bhengu
Justice Raymond Zondo leads the commission of inquiry into state capture.
Image: Elmond Jiyane GCIS Justice Raymond Zondo leads the commission of inquiry into state capture.

The commission of inquiry led by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo will now focus on prominent politicians in its investigations into state capture.

According to reports by the Sunday Times, these include former president Jacob Zuma, police minister Bheki Cele, EFF leader Julius Malema, his deputy Floyd Shivambu and former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede.

Malema has repeatedly insisted his willingness to co-operate with the commission, while Shivambu lashed out at Zondo, whom he accused of having a “misguided political agenda”.

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Here's what you need to know:

Jacob Zuma and allies 

Accounts linked to Zuma, his education trust and his family are being analysed by the commission's investigators.

The commission issued subpoenas to banks in January and are zooming in on transactions from 2016 to date.

The Sunday Times reports that while it is unclear what the commission is investigating, a source “familiar with the investigations” said there have been questionable transactions which date back to 2016.

Julius Malema

The financial records of Malema, his wife Mantoa and the estate of his late grandmother Sarah will be under investigation by the commission. Those of his lawyer, Ian Levitt, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, his brother Brian and companies associated with him will also be under investigation.

Brian Shivambu's companies are alleged to have illegally benefited from the R2.3bn VBS Mutual Bank heist.

The Sunday Times reports that at least 36 individuals and companies are under investigation for possible involvement in the looting of state funds.

Malema questioned the motive of the investigation as he has never been implicated in wrongdoing by any of the witnesses. He said, however, he has nothing to hide and that he would have furnished the commission with all required documentation.

Bheki Cele

Subpoenas were also issued to major banks to issue financial records of Cele and companies linked to him and the late eThekwini ANC chairperson John Mchunu. The two officials were reportedly allies and business partners.

Cele is linked to four companies Isibhudla Trading, Ithembelihle Logistics, Tray Holdings and Cracin Property Development. He resigned from Isibhudla but remains active as a director of the other three. Lirandzu Themba, spokesperson for the minister said Cele had no knowledge of the subpoenas.

Lynne Brown 

Number 65 on “a long list” is former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown. She has been implicated in allegedly laying the foundation for the Gupta family at state-owned entities during her tenure.

The former minister has previously denied these allegations.

Zola Tsotsi, former Eskom chair, told the commission in September that Brown, in cahoots with the Guptas, was behind his 2015 resignation at the power utility, and subsequently the ousting of former Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona, who was “to make way for Brian Molefe”.