LIVE FEED: State Capture Inquiry – October 12, 2020
Johannesburg – Former Free State MEC Mosebenzi Zwane is expected back at the Zondo commission on Monday afternoon as the inquiry continues its probe into a R1 billion housing budget corruption scandal.
Zwane made his first appearance at the inquiry in September.
At his first appearance, he faced tough questions regarding his involvement and for allegedly being the mastermind behind a plan to ensure millions of rand destined for a housing project budget was spent within four months.
According to witnesses who appeared at the inquiry in early September, in 2010 the Free State department of human settlements faced the threat of a housing grant being withdrawn by the national government because of underspending.
Zwane is said to have spear-headed a plan to ensure that millions of rand were spent in prepayment to contractors and suppliers for houses that were not delivered.
The witnesses said Zwane's plan was to ensure that the funds would not be taken by the national government and that is what motivated irregular spending linked to the project.
Zwane denied the accusations against him.
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Advocate Paul Pretorius, the evidence leader, questioned Zwane on whether he knew at the time of the existence of a Housing Act which gave him various powers, one of those powers was the ability to appoint a board of advisors for housing.
Zwane said he was unaware of this act. He said he was never alerted to it by his subordinates, but he insisted that he knew the prescripts of financial management legislation governing departments.
Zwane was unable to answer questions linked to the act and asked that he be given time to go through the act at a later stage.
The former MEC's lack of knowledge on key legislation came as a surprise to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
"It is a matter of concern to me that there is an act (Housing Act) that the MEC responsible for human settlements knows nothing about it for a year in office. One would have expected that they (MEC) would want to to be familiar with the rules and their ability to perform oversight over the HOD," Zondo said.
Zwane said nobody, including the head of department, had drawn his attention to the act.
"I did my best under what the PFMA requires. I was a MEC that followed the prescripts of the law as much I could understand them. At that time I thought I was doing my job within the prescripts," he said.