African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Ace Magashule and party chief whip Pemmy Majodina on Wednesday defended the inclusion of several people named in the state capture inquiry and linked to alleged dodgy deals among those deployed to senior positions in Parliament.
Magashule and Majodina announced the ANC MPs the party was nominating as House chairpersons and as chairpersons of oversight committees in Parliament.
Former communications minister Faith Muthambi was confirmed as the chairwoman designate for the portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs.
Muthambi paved the way for Hlaudi Motsoeneng to take over as chief operating officer at the South African Broadcasting Corporation. Motsoeneng wreaked havoc at the broadcaster, which is now on the brink of collapse with billions of rand in debt due. Allegations also emerged that Muthambi was doing the controversial Gupta family’s bidding.
Mosebenzi Zwane, who served as mineral resources minister under Zuma, also makes his return to Parliament as transport portfolio committee chairman. Zwane’s relationship with the Guptas and Zuma’s son and his involvement in the acquisition of a coal mine while minister also features as part of the state capture inquiry.
Former state security minister Bongani Bongo will chair the Home Affairs portfolio committee. He still has a cloud hanging over his head after he was accused of having tried to bribe the evidence leader in the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom. Parliament’s ethics committee has yet to pronounce on the outcome of its inquiry into the allegations.
“There were allegations on certain members…there was a process where most of them appeared before the [ANC] integrity commission and they were cleared,” said Majodina.
“If there is any other matter that might be viewed as a member that has done anything against the law, then that process will be on its own and it cannot hold us back to not deploy a comrade because we believe in the presumption of innocence until proven guilty on the ANC side…”
Former Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson also makes a comeback in a senior position. She is set to chair the police portfolio committee. During her term, some 10 million barrels of South Africa’s crude oil stocks were sold off at US$28 a barrel at a time when the market price per barrel was around US$52. She denied the deal, but her successor confirmed the sale after Joemat-Pettersson was cut from Zuma’s cabinet.
Former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo will chair the tourism portfolio committee. He was alleged to have facilitated a trip for health officials to India which was paid for by Mediosa, a Gupta-linked company. The company received millions of rand in contracts from the North West health department, allegedly without proper procedures having been followed.
Cedric Frolick returns to his former position as chair of chairs. He has oversight over all the portfolio committee chairpersons. He was named in the state capture inquiry as having received around R40,000 a month to act as a go-between for politicians and Gavin Watson of the corruption-linked Bosasa group of companies.
Winnie Ngwenya, who Bosasa whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi said had received a monthly payment of R20,000 from the company to look the other way when the company’s contracts at South African prisons were scrutinised, will be the new house chairwoman responsible for oversight and institutional support at the National Council of Provinces.
Asked whether the decision to include former Zuma-loyalists was made to appease factional interests in the ANC, Magashule insisted the list of chairpersons was signed off by the entire top six of the ruling party, including president Cyril Ramaphosa.
“We don’t put people on [a] factional basis. It’s not correct,” Magashule said.
“We want to say as ANC officials, we are very happy that we have been working together very consistently so. We just read the media that the SG is going this way and the president is going that way. It’s not true at all.”
The committee chairpersons will be officially elected when committees meet for the first time in the first week of July.