Zizi Kodwa. PICTURE: SUNDAY TIMES/ESA ALEXANDER
Zizi Kodwa. PICTURE: SUNDAY TIMES/ESA ALEXANDER

Former ANC spokesperson and national executive committee (NEC) member Zizi Kodwa has defended his controversial relationship with Jehan Mackay in which he received close to R2m from the business person.

Kodwa, a close ally of President Cyril Ramaphosa, is now the deputy minister of state security. His implication in state capture comes as an embarrassment to the president who came to power in 2017 promising a clean government.

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 the government at the time.

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 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 also raised issue with 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. 

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