/ 12 August 2010

Nyanda ‘feels vindicated’ by Public Protector’s findings

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has essentially exonerated Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda of wrongdoing in two reports presented to President Jacob Zuma.

Madonsela probed whether Nyanda had breached the Executive Members’ Ethics Act and the Executive Ethics Code at the request of Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Athol Trollip and Congress of the People MP Julie Killian.

Killian’s complaint emanated from reports that a company in which Nyanda is alleged to have a 45% shareholding — Abalozi Security Risk Services — had been awarded a R55-million contract by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR).

Killian alleged Nyanda benefited improperly from the contract allegedly awarded to Abalozi.

The allegations on the second investigation were based on media reports in which it was alleged that Abalozi — previously known as General Nyanda Security Risk Advisory Services and GNS Risk Advisory Services — had been irregularly awarded a contract for providing risk management, and advisory and security services to the Gauteng public transport department on October 25 2007.

Madonsela found there was no conclusive evidence to substantiate the allegation that Nyanda was personally responsible for securing the TFR contract, or that he used his position or relationship with the CEO of TFR to do so, the Presidency said in a statement on Wednesday.

However, Madonsela found that the statement issued to the media by Nyanda supporting the then-CEO of TFR — Siyabonga Gama — who was the subject of a disciplinary inquiry by Transnet, violated section 2.3(d) of the code in that Nyanda used his office improperly to benefit the erstwhile CEO.

No basis
Regarding the second complaint, Madonsela found there was no basis for finding Nyanda’s conduct constituted a conflict of interest in violation of section 2 of the Act and the provisions of sections 3 of the code.

Madonsela also made certain recommendations in her two reports, which the president was still considering.

Zuma would submit the reports to Parliament as required by the Act, the Presidency said.

In another statement, Nyanda’s spokesperson, Tiyani Rikhotso, said Nyanda felt ‘vindicated’ by the findings.

“What was confirmed is the information already in the public domain, which indicates that General Nyanda’s children’s trust, the Mphephethwa Trust, to which he donated his shares on becoming minister, owns a 45% shareholding in Abalozi,” Rikhotso said.

It was therefore important to note that whatever adverse findings by the Public Protector on this matter did not affect Nyanda’s standing, his credibility and had no impact on his position as communications minister or member of society.

“It is our hope that these findings put to rest the string of continued malicious allegations made against the minister by opposition parties with regard to what was perceived to be conflict of interest,” Rikhotso said. — Sapa