ANC national executive committee (NEC) member and deputy minister Zizi Kodwa has defended his controversial relationship with businessman Jehan Mackay.
Kodwa appeared at the state capture inquiry on Monday to be grilled about payments made to him by Mackay totalling close to R2m.
According to Kodwa, Mackay was a friend who came to his assistance when he was facing “financial difficulties” during his stint as ANC national spokesperson.
This included a R1m payment to Kodwa, R890,000 of which he used to buy a Jeep vehicle.
Kodwa claimed payments he received from Mackay were transactions between “friends” and not kickbacks to buy his influence and proximity to power.
In any event, Kodwa charged, there was no chance he was in a position to help advance Mackay’s business interests as he did not work for government at the time.
However, he told the inquiry he accepted the perception that accepting payments from friends may create the wrong impression when one had proximity to the levers of power.
Kodwa was grilled about whether he would be able to repay the “loan” immediately and in full should Mackay demand the money.
“I would negotiate new terms with him,” said Kodwa.
“He knows he would not get R1m immediately.”
Evidence leader Matthew Chaskalson SC said it was puzzling for Kodwa to claim the R1m payment was a personal loan to himself when it was reflected as “ANC donation” in a TSS (one of Mackay’s businesses) bank statement.
“My understanding is that the loan I have is with Mr Mackay,” said Kodwa.
Chaskalson said: “I know what your understanding is, but the TSS bank statement reflects this payment of R1m as a donation to the ANC. That is incorrect?”
Kodwa responded: “Yes, that is incorrect.”
The inquiry was also not buying Kodwa’s version that he was receiving payments from Mackay because he was having financial difficulties but saw fit to buy a vehicle costing close to R1m.
“If you were in financial difficulties in April 2015, why did you spend R890,000 on a car?” asked Chaskalson.
“That is a debate, whether to spend R10,000 or R20,000. I do not think it is a matter I can justify. Perhaps I should have thought of [buying a] smaller [car] for R20,000, like a Corolla, instead of a bigger car,” said Kodwa.
By Mawande AmaShabalala – TimesLIVE