DURBAN - THE KwaZulu-Natal ANC’s financial administration came under the spotlight on Wednesday when former provincial treasurer Mike Mabuyakhulu gave testimony before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
Mabuyakhulu, who has heeded the party’s step-aside policy by leaving his position as deputy provincial chairperson as he is facing pending criminal charges, appeared before the commission after testimony by forensic auditor Trevor White regarding a R1 million donation which had allegedly been paid by an Uruguayan businessman, through former Ithala Bank boss Sipho Shabalala, to the ANC, allegedly in exchange for a water-purification provincial tender.
In his testimony, Mabuyakhulu lashed out at White and questioned how he could link the R1m donation received by him in cash on behalf of the ANC which was delivered by Shabalala, with the R1 056 204.98 paid into the trust account of Khuboni and Shezi Attorneys by Savoi’s Intaka group.
Admitting to receiving the donation from Shabalala, Mabuyakhulu said it could not have been possible that the funds paid to the firm of attorneys by Intaka group back in June 2007 could be linked with the R1m received by him on June 11, 2008. Mabuyakhulu said the R1m was used to pay for logistics for a provincial party conference.
In cross-examination, Justice Zondo asked Mabuyakhulu if he had not found it inappropriate to receive such a “huge amount of money” in cash and that there should have been proper book-keeping records and the money deposited into a bank account.
Mabuyakhulu replied: “In hindsight, things could have been done differently. But I must say, Mr Chairman, that we were faced with the pressure that we had only nine days left to pay for the logistics of the conference.”
Justice Zondo asked if in the 10-year-period he was provincial treasurer, it was normal to sometimes receive donations of such high amounts in cash, to which Mabuyakhulu said while he could not recollect the nitty gritty details, it might have been possible.
Mabuyakhulu said the charges against him related to the Intaka matter were withdrawn but he had endured more than a decade of “character assassination”.
“This has resulted in untold reputational damage, when I had done nothing wrong against the state or anyone,” he said.
ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakhanipho Ntombela said the party no longer accepted cash donations and donations had to be made into its bank account.