‘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.

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. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

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.

Advertisting

Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Not a sweet deal, Mister

Mister Sweet workers say they will not risk their health, and the lives of others, to continue producing and packaging confectionaries

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world