Gordhan, Mahumapelo off the hook as public protector closes complaints
Cases closed due to unsubstantiated allegations or because other law enforcement agencies are investigating the matters
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane won’t pursue a complaint lodged against Eskom and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan, and another against former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo.
Public protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane said cases were closed when allegations were found to be unsubstantiated, or if her office does not enjoy jurisdiction, or if other competent forums were dealing with the same matters.
Mkhwebane said the complaint against Gordhan and Eskom was lodged by trade unionist Zwelinzima Vavi on behalf of Mark Chettiar, an Eskom employee. The complaint centred on the failure by Gordhan and the Eskom to investigate allegations of maladministration and improper conduct Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer.
In his complaint, Vavi said Chettiar had made a protected disclosure to the state capture inquiry regarding contracts entered into between Eskom and other companies.
Vavi said Chettiar had alleged that serious allegations he made against Oberholzer weren’t dealt with, despite having been brought to Gordhan's attention.
“Our investigation revealed the allegation that Gordhan, the board of directors of Eskom and Eskom failed to investigate the complaint relating to allegations of maladministration and improper conduct against Mr Oberholzer is unsubstantiated,” Mkhwebane said.
She said Eskom had investigated the complaints lodged by Chettiar and issued three reports, in 2019 and 2020, which exonerated Oberholzer.
In the second matter, Mkhwebane found the allegation that Mahumapelo had violated the executive ethics code through his involvement in facilitating the delivery of beef cattle to former president Jacob Zuma was unsubstantiated.
This complaint was lodged by former secretary-general of the EFF Godrich Gardee in April 2018.
The complaint was based on a Sunday Times article on April 22 2018 in which it was reported that a herd of cattle costing R1.5m and meant for emerging farmers was instead delivered to Nkandla as a gift to Zuma from Mahumapelo, and that the “generous gift, paid for with public funds, is under investigation”.
Mkhwebane said evidence showed Zuma received cattle from Agridelight, as confirmed by payments made by the company and the submission of Agridelight MD Bolokang Derrick Montshwe.
“Although Mr Montshwe contends he personally donated the cattle to the former president, his use of the Agridelight’s FNB account and not his personal account to pay for the transaction does not support his version,” Mkhwebane said.
She said the matter pertaining to Agridelight’s flow of funds under Montshwe’s management was being investigated by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) and the Asset Forfeiture Unit.
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