Johannesburg - The lack of record keeping of the R1 million donation made to the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal by former Ithala boss Sipho Shabalala was at the centre of ANC KZN deputy chairperson Mike Mabuyakhulu’s appearance before the Zondo commission on Wednesday.
Mabuyakhulu, who on Tuesday became the first ANC leader to step aside in line with the NEC’s resolution for those charged with corruption, confirmed that the payment was been made by Shabalala to the party in the province.
In his evidence before the commission, forensic auditor Trevor White implicated Mabuyakhulu in receiving the donation from Uruguayan businessman Gaston Savoi, through Shabalala, allegedly in exchange for a government tender.
Mabuyakhulu admitted that he received the payment from Shabalala, in cash, at the ANC’s provincial offices on June 11, 2008 with the funds used to prepare for the ANC’s provincial conference which sat from June 20-22 that year.
Mabuyakhulu said he had received the donation on behalf of the ANC in his capacity as the party’s provincial treasurer at the time.
The commission’s chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and evidence leader advocate Garth Hulley questioned Mabuyakhulu on why official accounting records and receipts of the donation had not been made.
In response, Mabuyakhulu said that the pressures associated with organising the conference, which was only nine days away from the day he received the donation from Shabalala, dictated that the money be used with immediacy.
“The expenditure on the items that needed to be paid for, for the organisation that were paid for, were part of the treasurer’s report (at the June 2008 provincial conference) that money had been spent on behalf of the organisation.
“In this particular instance, the detail of capturing the expenditure of the conference would have happened after I had vacated office (of the provincial treasurer),” Mabuyakhulu said.
He also disputed White’s evidence that another payment of R1m by Savoi’s Intaka Holdings to 14 various companies was linked to the donation to the ANC by Shabalala in June 2008.
He said that it was common cause that the donation he received from Shabalala was not the funds that Intaka had paid into the Khuboni and Shezi Attorneys Trust Account and that those funds were used to pay 14 companies for the benefit of Sipho Shabalala and his wife Beatrice Shabalala.
He added that the 29 payments were made between February 19 and August 21, 2007.
“We know, from Mr Gaston Savoi’s affidavit that is before the Pietermaritzburg High Court that only one R1m was paid, so where does this other million rand that Mr Trevor White shows come from? If Mr Trevor White is saying he is referring to the same funds that were paid by Intaka, then my question is, how can it be Mr Chairman?
“We now know for a fact, from Mr White himself, how the Intaka money was used, and for whose benefit. Where are the facts of Mr White’s conclusions or inferences coming from? Where are the facts of his logic and rationality?”
Mabuyakhulu also said the commission had not allowed him to cross examine White and the investigating officer in the case, Lieutenant-Colonel Piet Du Plooy.
“Instead of being afforded an opportunity to cross examine these witnesses based on their testimonies to this commission, I have been advised that the Chairman (Zondo) has ruled that before my application is decided, I must first give evidence and submit myself to questioning.
“I, however, Mr Chairman, wish to place on record that I would have expected the Commission to firstly allow me the opportunity to cross examine the said two witnesses on aspects of their evidence, that I regard not to be based on the facts, logic and rationality,” Mabuyakhulu said.