PLEASE INVESTIGATE: Kgalema Motlanthe and Gugu Mtshali will make themselves available to provide any information to the public protector. Picture: GCIS
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has asked the public protector to investigate allegations that he and his partner, Gugu Mtshali, were involved in trying to solicit a bribe of R104m in a multibillion rand sanctions-busting deal with Iran.
Motlanthe’s spokesperson, Thabo Masebe, said yesterday that the matter had been referred to the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela for investigation owing to “the seriousness of the allegations made that either him or his partner attempted to obtain a bribe to assist this company.”
Both Motlanthe and Mtshali deny that they had done anything wrong as alleged in weekend news reports, Masebe said. “The deputy president and Ms Mtshali will make themselves available to provide any information to the public protector should she decide to investigate the allegations.”
Madonsela’s spokesperson, Kgalalelo Masibi, confirmed that they had received a request from Motlanthe to investigate the matter. Madonsela was conducting a preliminary investigation to determine whether she had jurisdiction to investigate the matter. Masibi would not say how soon such an assessment would be completed.
Justice Department spokesperson Tladi Tladi said the National Conventional Arms Control Committee was also probing the matter and would decide on the course of action. The committee, chaired by Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, would look into whether there were breaches of sanctions the UN Security Council imposed on Iran.
The NCACC would decide on the course of action to take,” Tladi said. “We will conduct an enquiry into this matter in order to make a determination as to whether or not claims made fall within the committee’s legislative mandate and, if so, whether an investigation is justified.”
The Sunday Times reported that Mtshali and Motlanthe’s associates including former De Beers executive Raisaka Masebelanga, North West businessman Joe Mboweni and ex-Land Bank executive Herman Moeketsi had tried to sell government support to 360 Aviation in its bid to clinch a R2bn helicopters deal with Iran.
The company’s bosses said Mtshali and her associates had solicited a bribe of R104m for them to secure a government letter backing the deal.
Mtshali is said to have been present at a meeting at which Masebelanga solicited a R10m bribe and R94m profit share.
The deal fell through because 360 Aviation failed to agree terms with the National Iranian Oil Company. If the deal had gone ahead, it would have resulted in South Africa violating a UN resolution which prevents member states from supplying military equipment to Iran.
DA MP and party spokesperson on defence matters David Maynier said he was concerned about what appeared to be a pattern of sanctions-busting involving South Africa and Iran. South Africa was being used as a conduit to supply military equipment to Iran.
The latest development warrants that an investigation be conducted. The government needed to get to the bottom of the matter.
Maynier said he would ask Radebe to investigate the matter. Sanctions-busting should never be allowed to happen and South Africa had to abide by its UN Security Council obligations.