Zwane’s homework includes OUTA’s state capture report

The former minister had four years to read Chapter 4 of OUTA’s report before he appeared at the State Capture Commission on Freedom Day but he still couldn’t explain away the evidence in the report.

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28/04/2021 06:51:21

Zwane’s homework includes OUTA’s state capture report

Ignoring the evidence doesn’t make it go away.

Former Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane found that out when he appeared before the State Capture Commission on Freedom Day.

He was asked to explain his involvement with the Guptas and their help with his travel arrangements. Zwane blamed his use of “Gupta Air” on his voice needing medical attention, he blamed the travel documents that implicated him on fakes, he blamed his use of Gupta-linked advisors on department officials, and he blamed e-mails sent from his phone on a choir member.

We don’t believe him.

We’ve seen the evidence, and we believe Mosebenzi Zwane is a significant player in the state capture gang. As a Free State MEC he was part of the Estina dairy project. As Minister of Mineral Resources he helped the Guptas get hold of Optimum Coal Mine. We believe he was then instrumental in trying to hand the Guptas the state-owned mine rehabilitation funds (which OUTA stopped through legal action).

It’s time for Zwane to take responsibility for his activities.

During the hearing, the Commission referred Zwane several times to OUTA’s “No Room to Hide” report on state capture. Zwane merits his own chapter in this lengthy report.

This is the report which OUTA submitted to Parliament in June 2017, to encourage Parliament to take action against Jacob Zuma and his state capture allies. This report compiled evidence of state capture against specific individuals, as a legal case document which could be used in prosecutions. We started early in 2017 by tracking and collating information that was publicly reported and often well known, moved on to legal documents which were publicly available, and then, in June 2017, added documents from the newly revealed #GuptaLeaks. OUTA’s team obtained a copy of the #GuptaLeaks and searched this database for relevant documents.

OUTA’s “No Room to Hide report” was a case report with bulky annexures designed to hold failing ministers like Mosebenzi Zwane to account. At the time, OUTA submitted the report to the Speaker of Parliament and to MPs. It was used in several subsequent parliamentary inquiries.

Although Zwane claimed that his trips abroad were arranged and paid for by his department, the evidence included in OUTA’s report says otherwise. The report also refers to his advisors.

Zwane queried the authenticity of the #GuptaLeaks. OUTA believes these documents are genuine and points out the difficulty of forging this enormous trove of more than 2.2 million files, which includes: 

• 1 703 540 html files (emails) • 358 064 jpg files • 139 568 pdf files • 26 664 xlsx files (spreadsheets) • 13 329 doc files (Word documents)

Four years later, Zwane is still unable to challenge this evidence.

We believe his apparent ignorance and denials are merely an attempt to shift the blame.

Zwane is now due to submit an affidavit to the Commission, explaining all his trips which he says were paid for by his department not the Guptas; the Commission warned him that he should bear in mind that the Commission is in the process of declaring the #GuptaLeaks documents authentic. We look forward to Zwane’s explanation.

What OUTA did with this information

In June 2017, OUTA published the No Room to Hide report and sent copies to Parliament and to law-enforcement agencies. Parliament referred the report to a few parliamentary committees; some committees investigated but the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy failed to investigate the allegations against Zwane.

In July 2017, a month after the No Room to Hide report was released, OUTA laid a criminal complaint against Zwane at the Randburg police station. The affidavit explaining the case included information used in the No Room to Hide report plus additional material. As far as OUTA is aware, this investigation went nowhere.

In November 2017, OUTA sent the reports to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests, which failed to take action against Zwane.

In October 2018, OUTA submitted the reports on Zwane to the State Capture Commission, which is now using them.

In October 2019, OUTA submitted the reports on Zwane to the National Prosecuting Authority.

The OUTA reports

OUTA’s report “No Room to Hide: A President caught in the act” is available here. See Chapter 4 and its annexures for Zwane’s activities.

OUTA’s criminal complaint against Zwane in July 2017 is here.

Picture: Flickr/GovernmentZA