‘Down and out’ Bongo to sue Parliament for defamation

Former State Security Agency minister Bongani Bongo wants to take the speaker of Parliament to court over allegations that he attempted to bribe the evidence leader in the parliamentary inquiry into state capture of state-owned entities last year.

The former minister was implicated by evidence leader advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara in an affidavit submitted to speaker Baleka Mbete, in which he claimed that Bongo had attempted to bribe him with a “blank cheque” in order to derail the inquiry by the ethics subcommittee.

But, almost a year after the inquiry, no findings have been made and now the ethics committee wants to begin all over again, said Bongo.

Bongo, who faces another investigation of fraud and corruption by the Hawks, is now an ANC backbencher. He believes the bribe allegations were a “plot” to tarnish his name and that Parliament and the Hawks are deliberately dragging their feet in concluding their respective investigations.

“This matter has been hanging over my head for almost a year now. And yesterday [Wednesday] the ethics committee said they will have to start over again because there is a new chairperson. I then went to see my lawyers about this because they [the ethics committee] interviewed both of us [Vanara and Bongo] long ago and they didn’t make any findings.


“I see now they [Parliament] have thanked him [Vanara] with a big job at the SABC. He is up and I am now down and out,” said Bongo.

He had been willing to co-operate with the Hawks but the investigators of the elite crime- fighting unit had been postponing meeting with him, he said.

“I am actually going to sue for defamation and the papers will be served on the speaker … I was informed about these allegations six months later by Parliament, even though I had already read them in newspapers. I asked him [Vanara] as an officer of the court why didn’t he open a case because this is a criminal case. Instead a case was opened by the DA [Democratic Alliance]. I asked him why did he write an affidavit 20 days later after I spoke to him. I told him he was plotting chief,” said Bongo.

According to Eric Ntabazalila, the Western Cape spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the case is still being investigated.

“The case had been referred to the NPA’s specialised commercial crimes unit in Bellville. A prosecutor was appointed and has been providing guidance to the investigating officer,” said Ntabazalila.

Bongo believes the allegations were to secure his removal as state security minister. Bongo was appointed during former president Jacob Zuma’s second Cabinet reshuffle in October last year. He was promoted from the ANC caucus to take over from his Mpumalanga comrade, David Mahlobo, who was moved to the department of energy.

But, soon after his appointment it emerged that Bongo was the subject of a fraud and corruption investigation by the Hawks. It is alleged that he received a R300  00 kickback in 2012 from Mpumalanga property developers during his tenure as the head of legal services in that province’s department of human settlements.

This was revealed in a report to the police ministry by former Hawks acting head Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata.

It is alleged that Bongo approved the purchase of three municipal-owned farms by the property developers and that the reward was paid as a deposit towards his purchase of a BMW X5.

According to the NPA’s spokesperson, Luvuyo Mfaku, no decision has been taken on prosecuting Bongo in this case “because the investigation is not yet completed”.

Bongo, who was axed in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet reshuffle in February, resurfaced recently as part of the ANC’s team deployed in Limpopo to investigate ways to save the embattled VBS Mutual Bank, which was allegedly looted by its executives and other politically connected individuals.

The Hawks had not responded to requests for comment at the time of print.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Thanduxolo Jika
Thanduxolo Jika

Thanduxolo Jika is an investigative Journalist and Co-Author of We are going to kill each other today:The Marikana Story. The Messiah of Abantu.

Related stories

In terms of future-telling failures, this is a Major One

Bushiri knows how to pull a crowd. Ace knows a ponzi scheme. Paddy Harper predicts that a new prophet may profit at Luthuli House

Hawks swoop down with more arrests in R1.4-billion corruption blitz

The spate of arrests for corruption continues apace in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Why crooks are shivering in their boots

Ace Magashule’s anxiety has to do with the array of arrests of high-profile people facing fraud and corruption charges

Did Yster play ace in the hole?

Is the ANC secretary general a gambling man — or just stirring the pot over the ‘news’ of his arrest warrant

How graft arrests came together

Learning from its failure to turn the Schabir Shaik conviction into one for Jacob Zuma, the state is now building an effective system for catching thieves. Khaya Koko, Sabelo Skiti and Paddy Harper take a look behind the scenes at how law enforcement agencies have started creating consequences for the corrupt

Citizens tired of being played for a fool

The use of a South African Air Force jet by ANC officials without the minister following the required procedures is one such case — and more questions arise on examination of that case
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Meyiwa murder case postponed amid drama in court

The murder case of Senzo Meyiwa has been postponed to next month after the appearance of the five suspects in the Boksburg magistrate’s court took an unexpected turn

Does the Expropriation Bill muddy the land question even further?

Land ownership and its equitable distribution has floundered. Changes to a section of the constitution and the expropriation act are now before parliament, but do they offer any solution?

Wheeling and dealing for a Covid-19 vaccine

A Covid-19 jab could cost hundreds of rands. Or not. It’s anyone’s guess. Could another pandemic almost a century ago hold clues for handling the coronavirus today?

The European companies that armed the Ivorian civil war

AN OCCRP investigation reveals that Gunvor and Semlex brokered weapons-for-oil deals in early 2011 when Côte d’Ivoire was in crisis, despite a UN arms embargo
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday