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Zondo hears Kodwa was given R2mn by a tech company while ANC spokesperson

An investigator told the Zondo commission on Tuesday that Deputy State Security Minister Zizi Kodwa received payments and luxury accommodation worth more than R2-million when he was the ANC’s spokesperson, apparently in exchange for support on government tenders.

The payments, allegedly through former EOH executive Jehan Mackay, date from March 2015 to February 2016 and the extent of these came to light after the Zondo commission subpoenaed Kodwa’s bank statements, said Steven Powell, the managing director of ENSafrica Forensic.

The accommodation included a fortnight stay at a luxury guesthouse in Camps Bay, Cape Town, over the 2015 Christmas holiday at a cost of R230 000, as well as two stays of two days each at a property in nearby Nettleton Drive, Clifton, at a cost of R50 000 a night.

At number 5 Nettleton Drive, one of the most expensive streets in South Africa, Kodwa had a private chef who charged more than R3 000 an evening. During the same period, he was also hosted in Fresnay, also on the Atlantic seaboard, for three nights at a cost of R150 000, plus a further R11 150 for the services of chef.

In total, Powell said, the accommodation to which Kodwa was availed cost just more than R650 000. Documentation showed the invoices were sent to Philip Arnold at Clipper Financial Services, which had a working relationship with EOH.

Investigations showed that in November 2015, Kodwa forwarded to Mackay an email in which he was asked for prompt payment by a luxury car dealership. Bank statements showed a R50 000 transfer to Kodwa’s bank account three days later, this time from Mackay’s account.

“He seems to help Mr Kodwa out at times when Mr Kodwa’s balance was very low,” Powell commented.

Powell’s testimony was a follow-up to an appearance before the commission in November last year when he said an investigation into JSE-listed EOH revealed suspicious payments of close to R400 000 from Mackay to Kodwa.

Kodwa pre-empted the testimony in a letter to the ANC’s integrity commission, dated 21 May. “Importantly, I need to remind the integrity commission, that to date, there are no allegations of impropriety that have been made against me nor have I been criminally charged of any wrongdoing, and I maintain and still confirm my submissions on my relationship with Mr Mackay, and assistance, donations received during the period 2015-16.”

When Kodwa appeared before the ANC integrity commission in December, he described the payments as assistance from friends. 

Powell said his further investigations, with greater access to emails between Mackay and Kodwa, and access to the latter’s bank records, revealed that the sum was five times higher.

Mackay and Kodwa also regularly exchanged emails regarding what appeared to be ANC donations over this period, Powell added. 

“In addition to payments to Kodwa at Mackay’s instance, EOH also made payments aggregating to more than R15-million to the ANC or its suppliers,” he said. “These seem to have had a direct link or connection to three different procurement processes.”

He said the tender processes were done at the department of home affairs, another with the Eastern Cape provincial education department and a third worth R90 million with the South African Social Security Agency.

The Eastern Cape contract went to a consortium in which EOH had a 40% shareholding. The contract was worth R217-million.

Emails exchanged between Mackay and Kodwa at the time show the former increasingly feeling that the outcome of the procurement process rested on EOH yielding to pressure from the provincial ANC structures to make a generous donation to the party, seemingly for a provincial general council meeting.

Some weeks later, a payment of R1-million to the party followed. On 30 March 2016, the tender was eventually awarded to the EOH consortium.

“So it looks like EOH did succumb to the pressure to make these donations,” Powell said.

EOH did not donate directly to the ANC but rather routed the funds through an entity called Mfundi Mobile, said Powell. 

It also featured in his November testimony when he said the company appeared to have been embroiled in efforts by Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo to unlock funding for the ANC ahead of the 2016 local government elections.

“Mfundi Mobile acted as an intermediary,” he submitted.

EOH enlisted ENSafrica Forensic to conduct a forensic investigation into irregularities in dealings with the public sector.

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