Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Michael Hulley, Sassa and all the other dodgy deals

Michael Hulley has had to manoeuvre craftily through controversy ever since he was appointed as Jacob Zuma’s legal adviser, having defended the president in all his court cases. Now Hulley is being seen as a player in the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) grants debacle.

Hulley has been Zuma’s adviser in the presidency for the past six years and in that time he has been at Zuma’s side through the spy tapes saga and the allegations of “state capture”.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that Hulley had attended two Sassa meetings in December and allegedly pushed for Cash Paymaster Service (CPS) to continue providing its services to the social security agency. CPS distributes grants on behalf of Sassa to 17-million South Africans, but the Constitutional Court ruled in 2014 that the contract is unlawful – but extended it to March 21 so that the agency could get its pay method in order.

The Sassa meetings aren’t the first time Hulley’s been involved in suspicious dealings. These are some of the other occasions:

1. Spy tapes
Hulley played a pivotal role in the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) decision to withdraw corruption and fraud charges against Zuma in 2009. Tapes which allegedly showed political interference in the handling of Zuma’s case between former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka were handed to Hulley.

Hulley refused to reveal who had leaked the tapes to him, citing professional privilege. The Democratic Alliance’s Dianne Kohler-Barnard laid criminal charges against Hulley that related to the possession and distribution of the allegedly illegal tape recording.

2. Aurora Mines
Directors at Aurora Empowerment Systems have been steeped in controversy since 2009. Although Hulley was alleged to be a key player, he disputed that he was ever a director at the company. According to an affidavit filed in the court case related to Aurora, Hulley’s responsibilites included overseeing press releases and insurance matters at Aurora. 

While at Aurora, Hulley worked with the president’s nephew, Khulubuse Zuma. It was also at this time that he became Zuma’s adviser in the presidency.

3. State capture
Zuma and Hulley’s meeting with former public protector Thuli Madonsela during the state capture investigation went viral after an audio of their discussion was leaked. In the recording, Madonsela can be heard asking Hulley to allow Zuma to answer questions directly, and saying that it was unusual for Hulley to represent Zuma rather than provide legal advice.

At one point, Madonsela accused Hulley of attempting to bully her.

4. Sassa’s R10-billion tender
In 2012, Sassa appointed Hulley as a “strategic adviser … to ensure the transparency and accountability of the tender process”. Hulley was responsible for helping to manage a tender process where CPS was eventually awarded a R10-billion tender

Questions about Sassa’s irregular expenditure in awarding the tender remain unanswered.

It also remains unclear how Hulley has become enmeshed in Sassa’s current grants crisis and if his representation there is personal or professional.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

South Africa breaking more temperature records than expected

The country’s climate is becoming ‘more extreme’ as temperature records are broken

More top stories

South Africa breaking more temperature records than expected

The country’s climate is becoming ‘more extreme’ as temperature records are broken

Environmentalists are trying to save South Africa’s obscure endangered species

Scientists are digging for De Winton’s golden moles, working on the mystery of the riverine rabbit and using mesh mattresses to save the unique Knysna seahorse

Shadow states infest Africa’s democracies

Two recent reports show evidence that democracy in Africa is being threatened by private power networks
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×