Former KZN ANCYL leader Thabiso Zulu testified before the Moerane Commission of Inquiry. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/ANA
Durban - Former KZN ANC Youth League leader Thabiso Zulu, a friend of slain Umzimkhulu councillor Sindiso Magaqa, who gave testimony at the Moerane Commission last week, is adamant he will continue to expose corruption - even if he is placing his life at risk every time he speaks out. Kuben Chetty asks him five crucial questions about what emerged from his testimony

During the Moerane Commission you spoke of the lack of political will to deal with the "village heroes", whom you describe as being untouchable. Who are these "village heroes"?

My testimony was not specific to Harry Gwala and Umzimkhulu as I have worked in other regions, including Richards Bay and I have seen the same tactics used when it comes to corruption.

The "village heroes" are people in leadership who are preoccupied with amassing wealth and advancing their personal politics. They are no longer concerned with the revolutionary objectives aimed at empowering ordinary people, but are driven by self-interest.

During your testimony, you made constant references to "foot soldiers", either being arrested or killed. This implies a large scale cover-up of the political killings in the province. Is this the way you see it?

The Cosa Nostra refer to omerta (among the Mafia a code of silence about criminal activity and a refusal to give evidence to the police). This is what is happening in KZN. The foot soldiers are exposed and if they are arrested they rarely provide information that will expose their handlers or the politicians behind these killings.

In the case of Sindiso Magaqa, the police are claiming that the mastermind behind his death was killed in a cash-in-transit heist in September. This method is a common one, as it allows police to claim that the link between the mastermind behind the murder is no longer alive and the case has gone cold.

You spoke about business people linked to political office bearers who are “looting” Umzimkhulu and other municipalities. What information do you have and what have you done with it?

A Treasury report revealed that a security company linked to Umzimkhulu had been paid more than R22million for a R8.7m tender. We have proof that the security company paid bribes and they have been receiving tender after tender.

We have bank statements, affidavits and many documents that show that one person is getting all these tenders. Cash is being paid into an employee’s account and then withdrawn on the same day. The Special Investigation Unit, Sars, Hawks, National Treasury and the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs have started investigations.

You believed that "cellphone grabbers", (devices that are used for cellphone tapping, cellphone tracking, and as a cellular locator), were used by police crime intelligence operatives against ANC activists in Umzimkhulu. Were these claims investigated?

We received information in 2008 that grabbers were being used to listen to and locate activists. If you are in a position to listen to people discussing budgets or private conversations then you can manipulate and extort people.

If you make travel plans and you are deemed a threat then your life is in danger. We knew the exact location of the grabber and who had it.

An officer from the Crime Intelligence Unit came to pick me up to identify the person who was using the grabber. I objected, as the very people I was meant to identify would know that I had given information to the police.

You have made it clear that you feel your life is at risk, because you are a self-proclaimed corruption buster. How real is the threat you face?

People in the underworld have told me that if they were in the position to help, they would have offered me protection.

When I went to see the public protector recently, she ensured that a team from the flying squad escorted me to her office and on my return to OR Tambo International Airport. I don’t have anything close to this protection in KZN.

The easiest thing for them to do is to take me out. I said it at the commission and I will say it again I only have my courage, documents and the truth.

The Mercury