Zizi Kodwa denies facilitating EOH tenders in state capture probe

Read time 3min 10sec

Deputy minister of state security Zizi Kodwa has denied payments he received from former EOH executive Jehan Mackay were to influence government tender processes.

Kodwa says his relationship with Mackay is above board and the former EOH executive never asked him for favours.

The deputy minister appeared at the State Capture Commission today, saying he met Mackay in 2013 and they have continued to interact on friendly terms with no undue benefits.

Kodwa appeared at the State Capture Commission to explain a series of payments that trickled into his bank accounts at a time the JSE-listed EOH was bidding for government tenders.

The deputy minister and City of Johannesburg mayor Geoffrey Makhubo were singled out in a forensic probe by Steven Powell, ENSafrica lead investigator, who probed EOH’s tender irregularities.

The probe showed Kodwa allegedly received over R2 million in payments and luxury accommodation from EOH while the company was bidding for government tenders.

Evidence leader advocate Matthew Chaskalson characterised the relationship between the politicians and EOH as “corrupt” at the time he questioned mayor Makhubo.

Today, Kodwa told the commission that he never facilitated corruption with Mackay, saying while he “may have accepted financial assistance from friends in business, he has never engaged in corrupt activities with anyone”.

However, he admitted to receiving loans of R800 000 and assistance of R250 000 from his friend, Mackay.

Kodwa told the commission that he had an agreement to repay Mackay when he gets a better job and there was no discussion of interest on the loans.

The deputy minister told commission chairman Raymond Zondo that he was under financial difficulty when he received the money from Mackay. Kodwa also confirmed he bought a new Jeep from the “loan”, leading to more questions from the evidence leader.

Chaskalson probed: “If you were in financial difficulties, why did you buy a R800 000 car?” To which Kodwa responded: “That is a wisdom we can debate.”

Turning to the issue of luxury accommodation that was allegedly booked for him by Mackay, Kodwa denied this, saying the former EOH executive had not paid his hotel accommodation whatsoever.

He told the commission that Mackay has several properties in Cape Town and he often slept at one of the properties when he visited the city.

"I confirm that there was nothing untoward in his allowing me to visit his home or to spend a night at any of his properties. He specifically demanded no payment for the time I spent at any of his homes,” said Kodwa.

A web of “suspicious payments” to politicians was unravelled in November at the commission by Powell.

The ENSafrica investigation found evidence of a number of governance failings and wrongdoing at EOH, including unsubstantiated payments, tender irregularities and other unethical business practices, primarily limited to the public sector business.

Powell also named Johannesburg mayor Makhubo and Kodwa as individuals who irregularly received payments from EOH.

EOH CEO Stephen Van Coller, who has since appeared before the inquiry, also told the commission that the investigation unearthed multiple points of failure in governance, creating an enabling environment for wrongdoing, including: “Opaque delegation of authority with significant responsibilities granted to a few executives; artificial/inflated software licence sales; potential tender irregularities; as well as use of politically connected middlemen that are suspected to have been used as introducers and sales agents.”

See also