Charges against Zwane are a significant step in battling state capture – OUTA

OUTA media statement:

The former minister and serving Member of Parliament who questioned the authenticity of the #GuptaLeaks is now facing prosecution backed by those documents.

“OUTA is very pleased to see Mosebenzi Zwane in court, as we have waited for years to see him face charges. In his positions as a provincial MEC and later as a minister, he was crucial in enabling state capture,” says Rudie Heyneke, OUTA’s expert on state capture.

“OUTA has done substantial work to encourage action against him over his state capture activities.”

The charges against Zwane relate to the Estina dairy case, when money was siphoned out of the Free State government through the department of agriculture on the pretext of funding emerging farmers, but instead going to the Guptas and their associates, leaving those farmers impoverished. Zwane was MEC for agriculture at the time. The project was budgeted at R6 million but about R184 million was spent. The funds went through a sophisticated money laundering network and some of it is believed to have been used to fund the notorious Gupta wedding in Sun City.

“OUTA welcomes this action by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as a significant development in battling state capture. We call on National Treasury to ensure that the NPA, particularly its Investigating Directorate, has the resources to follow through with this and other state capture prosecutions,” says Heyneke.

“In contrast, we note how Parliament has propped up Zwane, promoting him to a senior position and thus effectively defending state capture.”

Despite complaints and information about Zwane’s activities submitted to Parliament over the years (see below) by OUTA and others, and the June 2022 report by the State Capture Commission which recommended investigating for possible prosecution of Zwane, he remains not only a Member of Parliament but holds the senior position of Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Transport.

OUTA’s actions to hold Mosebenzi Zwane to account

OUTA has taken numerous actions aimed at holding Zwane to account and blocking his state capture activities. Much of this was based on documents which OUTA retrieved from the #GuptaLeaks database, a trove of more than 2.2 million files. In April 2021, Zwane gave evidence to the State Capture Commission, denied all wrongdoing and questioned the authenticity of the #GuptaLeaks. It is those documents which now support the prosecution against him.

Information in the #GuptaLeaks showed that the Guptas provided Zwane with all-expenses paid trips to Gupta weddings in Sun City and India, to Dubai, and to India for him and his local gospel choir.

  • In June 2017, OUTA submitted a comprehensive case document on state capture to Parliament, aimed at convincing Parliament and other organs of state to remove Jacob Zuma as president. This document also included information on Zwane’s activities in support of state capture. See here (Chapter 4 on Zwane).
  • In July 2017, OUTA filed a criminal complaint against Zwane at the Randburg police station, while he was still Minister of Mineral Resources. OUTA’s complaint called for charges of treason, corruption, extortion, fraud and theft against Zwane in connection with the Estina dairy farm project. See here.
  • In October 2017, OUTA made a complaint about Zwane to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests. See here.
  • In April 2018, OUTA won a legal settlement which stopped R1.7 billion in mine rehabilitation funds from moving into Gupta control at the Bank of Baroda. These funds, held in trust to pay for mine rehabilitation so the state and taxpayers do not have to fund this, were supposed to have been secured by Zwane, who was then the Minister of Mineral Resources. He failed to protect these funds, so OUTA went to court to do this. See here.
  • In May 2018, OUTA made a substantial submission about Zwane’s activities to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources, for its promised investigation into state capture. See here. The committee abandoned the investigation.
  • In October 2018, OUTA made a submission about Zwane’s activities to the State Capture Commission. See here. Later the Commission’s report in June 2022 recommended investigating criminal prosecution against Zwane.
  • In October 2019, OUTA referred information about Zwane to the NPA in terms of section 27 of the NPA Act, which allows direct referrals of information on serious crimes. The referral included a 65-page affidavit outlining the allegations backed up by 57 annexures. See here and here.
  • In November 2020, OUTA’s 2020 Report on Parliamentary Oversight noted that Parliament effectively rewarded unethical behaviour, by appointing Zwane – then no longer minister but still an MP – as chair of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, a position he still holds.
  • In February 2022, OUTA’s 2021 Report on Parliamentary Oversight noted that OUTA had repeatedly asked the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests about developments in connection with our October 2017 complaint about Zwane. The committee stopped responding.

Below:

1. Mosebenzi Zwane with his local gospel choir in India, at Gupta expense. Picture: #GuptaLeaks

2. Graphic of the money flow to Gupta accounts, based on documents from the #GuptaLeaks

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