Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma’s opponents will push for the ANC’s policy conference to rubber-stamp the decision for a judicial commission into state capture.
It is expected that the debate on the matter will push Zuma and some of his ministers into a corner.
The president and several ministers have been accused of sharing state information with the Gupta family.
The debate will also be a proxy for the battle for the soul of the ANC in the run-up to its elective conference in December.
The Star understands that Zuma’s detractors believe the inquiry will further weaken the campaign of former AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
This comes as ANC heavyweight and former Gauteng premier Tokyo Sexwale on Thursday squarely blamed the rampant corruption in state-owned entities on Zuma.
Sexwale’s latest indictment followed an investigative report he commissioned that showed how public funds had been used to help the Guptas buy their mining firm, Tegeta.
Sexwale appointed advocate Geoff Budlender SC in November last year to probe allegations of corruption at Trillian Capital Partners after various reports in the media implicated Trillian in corruption amounting to billions of rand.
Budlender was asked to probe whether Trillian chief executive Eric Wood had been aware of Zuma’s intention to fire former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015.
In his report, Budlender found that an illegal payment of more than a quarter of a billion rand had been transferred from Eskom into the accounts of Trillian subsidiary companies, which allegedly had not tendered for any of the jobs.
Budlender also made a similar finding against Transnet, especially its engineering division.
According to Budlender’s findings, these funds were allegedly used to support various illegal business initiatives of the Gupta family.
Budlender said Tegeta Exploration and Resources purchased controlling shares in Optimum Coal Holdings “under circumstances of considerable controversy” after Eskom allegedly improperly facilitated the deal for the benefit of Tegeta shareholders.
The Tegeta shareholders are: Guptas 29%; 28.53% is owned by Mabengela Investment, of which Zuma’s son Duduzane holds 45%; and Rajesh Cumar Gupta holds 25%.
Two percent is owned by Ashu Chawla, the chief executive of the Gupta-owned Sahara Company; and 21.5% is owned by Elgasolve, whose sole director is Salim Aziz Essa. Essa owns all the shares in Trillian Holdings, which in turn holds 60% of the shares in Trillian Capital Partners.
In his findings, Budlender found that as the date for the purchase of the Tegeta mine drew closer, the mining companies did not have the funds needed to cover the purchase price.
He corroborated former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s findings in the State of Capture report that between December 11, 2015 and April14, 2016 more than R2.4billion was paid into the Bank of Baroda’s account for Tegeta’s benefit.
Budlender said he had questioned Trillian about this transaction, but they failed to respond, leading him to conclude that “there are strong grounds for suspecting that this money (R2.4bn) was used to assist Tegeta to pay for the shares in Optimum Coal Holdings”.
Another damning finding against Trillian was the testimony of former chief executive and executive director of Trillian Financial Advisory (whose name has been withheld), who said Trillian chief executive Wood had told her that Zuma was going “to fire the minister of finance”.
Wood has denied these allegations, but the whistle-blower said that after Nene’s dismissal on December 8, 2015, she went to Wood’s office and said: “So, you were right,” and he responded: “Of course I was.”
The whistle-blower also said Wood had told him that Mohammed Bobat would be new finance minister Des van Rooyen’s adviser.
All these observations prompted Sexwale to insist that Zuma had played a pivotal role in the alleged state capture by the Guptas. He said Zuma’s actions had divided the ANC.
Zuma’s spokesperson, Bongani Ngqulunga, was not available for comment at the time of publication.
However, Trillian has cried foul about the latest report, saying they had not been given the opportunity to respond.
“Once Trillian has had an opportunity to consider the contents of the report, it will release its own comprehensive response,” the company said.