State Capture Commission: I have nothing to hide says Sihle Zikalala
Durban - KWAZULU-NATAL Premier Sihle Zikalala has cautioned against using the State Capture Commission of Inquiry to further political agendas and to target individuals based on who they supported and were affiliated to politically.
Speaking in a wide-ranging virtual interview with editors and senior journalists of Independent Media KZN yesterday, Zikalala said he was encouraged by the state organ’s pursuit of those implicated in corruption. He was responding to media reports that he was among several leaders and business people whose bank statements had been requested from the country’s major banks by the inquiry's investigators.
Other politicians named in the reports include former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, former ANC KZN provincial secretary Super Zuma, and former provincial education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane. Business people included Shauwn Mkhize (formerly Mpisane), Roy Moodley and Hlenga Sibisi.
Zikalala said the commission had not contacted him to alert him that it was looking into his financial affairs, but he was willing to co-operate if it wanted him to respond to anything.
“If the commission wants to investigate anyone, it has the power to do so, it must follow processes. But what would be wrong is when the commission targets individuals. I’m not aware of the investigation that they’re doing, they’ve not contacted me, but if there is something they want me to respond to, I’m free on that, I’ve nothing to hide.
“What was reported was that it was certain politicians linked to former President (Jacob Zuma) If it is because of that, then it causes a problem. We believe that the Zondo commission is one institution that must help us as a country resolve what is said to be state capture,” said Zikalala.
He stressed that the work of the commission in attempting to get to the bottom of the litany of allegations of state capture should be done objectively and without identifying and dealing with individuals on the basis of “who they supported in a particular incident”.
“That needs to be preserved and the commission must be supported, but not used to further political interests,” he said.
Zuma wrote a scathing letter to the commission on Friday, saying that its actions were a “declaration of war” after it emerged that the commission also asked the banks for his children’s financial records.
In a four-page rebuke of the commission, Zuma said that he had accepted that the commission was desperate to target him for his alleged role “in what is called state capture” because it could not complete its work without lynching the original target of those who had conceptualised the commission as part of campaigns to discredit him.
Zuma went on to say that the targeting of his children “by way of clandestine investigations” into matters that had nothing to do with them was “utter cowardice”.
“My children live their lives separately and must be treated like any child or person that has not been implicated in any wrongdoing. I will retaliate for my family.”
Meanwhile Zikalala said the provincial government would accelerate its initiatives to boost the township economy.
Last year, Zikalala launched the Bulk Buying and Warehousing Programme to turn tuck shop businesses into more profitable ventures.
The Gauteng provincial government last month announced an initiative, with a proposed Township Economy Bill aimed at setting guidelines for profitable businesses in townships.
However, opposition parties expressed fears that the proposed bill’s main aim was to drive foreign nationals out of townships.
In May, about 50 businesses owned by undocumented foreign nationals were shut down in Durban for selling expired and counterfeit goods while operating without valid licences.
Zikalala said his KZN provincial administration had started a campaign to look at the influx of foreign nationals in economic activities, particularly in townships without the necessary licences.
“We went as far as having a campaign to remove containers (used as shops) and that campaign is going to be intensified. We have packaged a number of interventions, the first is that we are running a radical economic transformation programme under the framework of the Operation Vula Strategic Framework,” Zikalala said.