Slain councillor ‘told Zuma about municipality graft’

Time of article published Jul 20, 2012

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SLAIN whistle-blower Moss Phakoe travelled to Nkandla, KwaZulu Natal, where he presented damning details of alleged corruption at the Rustenburg municipality to President Jacob Zuma, but three years after his assassination his quest to expose corruption is yet to be realised.

Phakoe’s comrade and fellow whistle-blower, Alfred Motsi, is calling for action into the contents of an incriminating dossier on alleged corruption in the municipality which he helped compile and handed over to the ANC.

Motsi said unless the allegations on corruption running into millions of rand were investigated and perpetrators were brought to book, then Phakoe’s “death will be in vain”.

A war of words has since erupted between Motsi and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who is rejecting claims that he is aware of the allegations reported to the ANC.

Mantashe confirmed, however, that Phakoe called him several times but said “there were all sorts of allegations (and) if there was something concrete we always say to the structures, ‘Give it to the police.’”

Phakoe’s murderers were sentence this week. The court found that former Rustenburg mayor Matthew Wolmarans, 43, paid his bodyguard and driver Enoch Matshaba, 41, to kill Phakoe because he was implicating him (Wolmarans) in corruption in the dossier.

Wolmarans and Matshaba were sentenced to 20 years and life imprisonment, respectively.

“Phakoe would still be alive had action been taken earlier by the ANC when presented with evidence-backed allegations of corruption incriminating Wolmarans,” Motsi said, adding that he had been leaving in fear of his life, claiming several attempts had been made to eliminate him.

Together with Phakoe, a trade unionist and town councillor, Motsi said they went on a mission to expose corruption, but said it had not been successful even after his comrade was gunned down.

“We had meetings with ANC structures in the province, went to individual ANC bigwigs, including Mantashe, senior party leaders Siphiwe Nyanda and Billy Masetlha, among others, but no action was ever taken. In the end we managed to get President Zuma’s attention,” he said.

Motsi said he, Phakoe and five others were invited to see Zuma at his home in Nkandla late in December 2008. He recalled the “warm reception” they enjoyed in Nkandla and the conversations they had with Zuma until after midnight. “(Zuma) welcomed us and even offered us accommodation at his house. His wife, MaKhumalo, cooked for us and the president was really understanding of our cause. He was the only one sympathetic to our cause.

“His legal adviser was also present and we spoke to length about our concerns. The president was constantly on the phone trying to get hold of Mantashe and it later emerged that he was in Eastern Cape where there was no cellphone network coverage.”

Motsi said after a chat with Zuma, Mantashe invited him and Phakoe to a meeting on January 8, 2009, in Potchefstroom, where the ANC’s top six were present, as well as Wolmarans and the provincial leadership.

Mantashe denied this, saying Zuma never discussed any Rustenburg corruption allegations with him and that some people went to Nkandla.

Motsi said allegations of corruption in the Rustenburg municipality implicating Wolmarans were presented to the ANC leaders at the meeting. He said people were allowed to “say anything and everything” and explained that the meeting in Potchefstroom was about general issues of conflict in the province and not about Rustenburg.

He said the former co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister, the late Sicelo Shiceka, was asked to investigate. “A dossier including more evidence was compiled by myself and Phakoe which was handed to Shiceka in a meeting on March 12. Wolmarans was present and I testified in court during the murder trial how Wolmarans’ face had immediately changed when Phakoe told Shiceka evidence on the dodgy Rustenburg Kloof (a council-owned resort which had its running outsourced through tender process) deal,” Motsi said.

Motsi now wants the ANC to act on allegations in the dossier.

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