Astonishing testimony at Zondo inquiry an indictment against ANC

Former head of the Human Settlements Department, Mpho Gift Mokoena testifies at the Commission of Inquiry on September 22, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is reported that the Zondo commission heard further testimony regarding corruption allegations related to a R1 billion Free State housing project.
Former head of the Human Settlements Department, Mpho Gift Mokoena testifies at the Commission of Inquiry on September 22, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is reported that the Zondo commission heard further testimony regarding corruption allegations related to a R1 billion Free State housing project.
Image: GALLO IMAGES/ SHARON SERELLO

There have been some memorable moments in the Zondo Commission of Inquiry. 

All sorts of people have given evidence: A former president, current and past government ministers, prominent ANC politicians, and business executives. Dozens left an indelible mark on a cynical nation which should, by now, have been wrung dry of incredulity.

We have as a nation been struck dumb by the absurd bribes, the blatant greed, and the sheer extent of the rot. But, as tired as we are of the litany of horror, there is still room for astonishment.

We all gasped when Mcebisi Jonas revealed he had been offered R600m by the Gupta family if he did their bidding and assumed the mantle of finance minister. He was one of the few that declined their largesse.

We were nonplussed by former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi’s evidence on what that company annually stuffed into then Gauteng  safety & security MEC Nomvula Mokonyane’s Christmas stocking: 120 cases of cold drinks, four cases of premium whisky, 40 cases of mixed beer and a cool lump sum of R12,000. At the time she denied the allegations outright. Later, when giving evidence at the commission, our incredulity metre went through the roof when she said these items were for distribution to needy families in Kagiso.

The claim had an astonished Deputy Chief Justice Raymond  Zondo mopping his brow and reaching for a glass of water.

 

But, just as Zondo and the nation thought we may face a few weeks filled with the simpler tried and tested staples of basic corruption and malfeasance, former Free State housing MEC and current ANC MP Mosebenzi Zwane stepped up to the plate.

He was in a tricky position. Senior staff in his department had firmly pointed to him as the strong arm that forced them to rubber-stamp the dodgiest R1bn housing deal of the century. Reading between the lines, his defence appeared to be incompetence, laziness and almost criminal stupidity.

Having been told of the act, he chose to believe that the scheme was in line with it but admits he never actually read the act

He was a housing MEC who had never heard of the most important piece of legislation governing his department – the aptly named Housing Act. Because he did not know about this key piece of legislation he happily approved a blatantly illegal process of hand-picking service providers.

Having been told of the act, he chose to believe that the scheme was in line with it but admits he never actually read the act.

It is an indictment against the ANC if they continue to allow a man who is, at best, a self-confessed incompetent fool and at worst, a crook to continue to serve in parliament. 

Alas, too many like him have been allowed to continue in positions of power and influence. And we are paying the price.



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