Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize on Sunday denied a media report that he demanded a R4.5-million kickback for allegedly facilitating a loan to an oil company from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).
“The allegations published by the Sunday Times newspaper today, about some R4.5-million ‘kickback’ or ‘facilitation fee’ that I am supposed to be seeking due to a loan that was granted to a company called Afric Oil by the Public Investment Corporation are a ridiculous and malicious fabrication,” Mkhize said in a short statement on Sunday.
“I have never facilitated the said loan negotiations nor have I sought any ‘facilitation fee’ from the said company. It is extremely unacceptable and mischievous for my name to be dragged into a matter that I have nothing to do with in this manner.”
Mkhize said he was seeking legal advice on the matter.
His response comes after the Sunday Times this weekend reported that a letter of demand from a Johannesburg law firm had allegedly exposed the requested kickback from Mkhize and other ANC supporters.
According to the Sunday Times, the letter dated October 2017, names Mkhize in a legal claim against Afric Oil.
The letter claims that, at meeting at Luthuli House in 2016, a loan application to the PIC was discussed and Mkhizwe, who was then ANC treasurer general, allegedly agreed to promote Afric Oil’s projects.
It is alleged that this included providing support for the facilitation of the PIC loan.
‘No pending action against me’
In a second and longer statement on Sunday, Mkhize fleshed out his position.
He said he had also received questions from the publication asking if he had any relationship with Zonkizizwe Investments, and whether he facilitated the PIC loan for Afric Oil.
“I made it clear that I have never facilitated such a loan and I have no relationship with Zonkizizwe. This I still maintain. I have also now learnt through the article that there are lawyers who have instituted action against certain parties wherein my name is mentioned.
“To date I have not seen such a lawyer’s letter nor is there any action pending against me or by me on such a matter.”
Mkhize said he had not been provided with “a shred of evidence” on when he had facilitated the alleged loan, or with whom he had engaged with.
“Interestingly enough, despite the Sunday Times establishing that there was a person who confirms having facilitated this PIC loan, the newspaper still elected to make the entire front page headline to revolve around me.”
“In my view it can only be meant to tarnish and defame my name without much substance,” he claimed. He accused “this kind of journalism” of being “sensational and unprofessional”, and an attempt to sell newspapers.
“I reiterate, as said in my earlier statement, that I will immediately seek legal advice on how to deal with this matter and the recourse I can get.”
During his tenure as ANC treasurer general, Mkhize said he met with various companies who would brief him on operations.
“This is no way meant that my intervention was required. At no stage did I enter into an agreement to facilitate loans for a fee,” he concluded. —News24