Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas has been appointed to two boards — mining giant Northam Platinum and investment management company Sygnia — headed by South Africa’s richest businesswoman, the controversial Magda Wierzycka.
In a notice of Special General Meeting on Monday morning, Jonas was appointed as a non-executive director of Sygnia, effective September 1. On the same day, Northam announced that Jonas had joined the board as an independent non-executive director as of November 6.
Jonas is joined by Jean Neal on the Northam board.
“Northam is pleased to welcome Messrs Mcebisi Jonas and Jean Nel to the board. They bring extensive additional experience and expertise to Northam, which will further strengthen the board’s diversity and independence,” said chairperson of the Northam board Brian Mosehla.
Jonas was previously appointed as a non-executive director of MTN. He is also one of four independent Presidential Investment Envoys appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in April this year to promote foreign investment in South Africa.
Jonas, recently testified at the commission of inquiry on state capture headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo and was deputy finance minister between 2014 and 2017.
According to Jonas, the Gupta family offered him a promotion and a bribe of R600-million — two months before then-finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was removed from office in October 2015. He has also told the commission that a senior Hawks official attempted to “kill the case” against the Guptas.
Jonas was one of Sygnia’s three new board appointments which included managing partner at Braavos Partners Andre Crawford-Brunt and former national Head of Consulting at Alexander Forbes David Hufton. Their tenure became effective as of November 1 and September 1 respectively.
Hufton was also appointed as Sygnia’s deputy chief executive on July 11 2018.
Wierzycka, a campaigner for social justice, abandoned twitter in March this year after she tweeted the iconic image of Hector Pieterson on Human Rights Day, formerly Sharpeville Day. This tweet was preceded by one where she called on every household in the country to hire a “cleaning lady or a gardener”. Following much criticism she later apologised for the now-deleted tweet saying, she had thought it was a “practical short-term solution to the serious problem of people living on social grants. I apologise if I offended anyone.”
The Mail & Guardian was unable to reach Jonas for comment.