South Africa


State Capture-implicated Sfiso Buthelezi sat on ANC deployment committee

State Capture-implicated Sfiso Buthelezi sat on ANC deployment committee
Former Prasa board chairperson Sfiso Buthelezi. (Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Felix Dlangamandla)

In the minutes of the ANC’s deployment committee, the name of Sfiso Buthelezi sticks out. The former Prasa board chairperson was implicated in allegations of corruption at both the Zondo Commission and in a Public Protector report.

This week, minutes of the ANC’s deployment committee became public. A notable name on the committee was that of Sfiso Buthelezi, the MP who was the board chairperson of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa). 

The Democratic Alliance said the minutes, which cover meetings from 2018 to 2020, were released publicly by the Zondo Commission after “sustained pressure”. 

Buthelezi is no stranger to the government or the ANC. City Press reported he was a former Umkhonto weSizwe member who was imprisoned on Robben Island for nine years. Between 1994 and 1999, he was an economic adviser to Jacob Zuma, who was then KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Affairs. He was also an adviser to Mathews Phosa during his premiership in Mpumalanga. 

Between 2005 and 2014, Buthelezi sat on the board of Prasa and for six of those years, he was board chairperson, ending in 2014. This was during Prasa’s modernisation programme, spearheaded by controversial group CEO Lucky Montana

Later, allegations would emerge that Buthelezi failed to disclose his business interests in Makana Investment Corporation, which has a 15% stake in a company called Cadiz which provided advisory services to Prasa.

This failure to disclose his interest was featured in the Derailed report by the former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. 

At the Zondo Commission, Buthelezi, via an affidavit, denied his company Sebenza Forwarding and Shipping had gained R99-million from the front company Swifambo during an ill-fated rail deal.

Describing Buthelezi, Popo Molefe (who succeeded Buthelezi as Prasa board chair) said he might have been an enabler of State Capture at the struggling agency, the SABC reported

For a full breakdown of Buthelezi’s history at the rail agency, read: 

Sfiso Buthelezi, the MP who derailed Prasa

In the ANC deployment committee minutes, Buthelezi was present on three occasions when the Prasa board was discussed.

According to the meeting, Buthelezi was present in a meeting on 22 March 2019, where comments included “remove Nazir Alli, has proven to be dogmatic”. Blade Nzimande was transport minister at the time and the agency’s interim board was led by Khanyisile Kweyama, who was labelled “Madam Fix It” in Parliament. 

Buthelezi is recorded as being in attendance at another meeting on 14 October 2019. After the 2019 national elections, Fikile Mbalula was appointed as transport minister. It is recorded in the minutes that Mbalula had “several” vacant boards, but the deployment committee only had time to go through the boards of Prasa and the Road Accident Fund.

“The PRASA board process had started before the minister was appointed; the adverts have gone out and have been closed, the current interim board has been extended twice and needs to be finalised urgently,” read the deployment committee minutes.

Within two months of this meeting, Mbalula dismissed the interim board and replaced it with an administrator in December 2019, an act overturned by the Western Cape High Court in August 2020

“In all appointment letters, there should be provision for review of performance after a year where the minister has the authority to replace any board member,” read the minutes. 

The last record of minutes about Prasa, dated 9 October 2020, read: “The presentation was welcomed and supported as it included youth, experience, skills and gender balance. There was a request for labour representation on future transport boards”. 

Following a high court-ordered appointment, on 22 October 2020 former ANC MP Leonard Ramatlakane was appointed to head the first permanent board since the departure of Molefe and his board in 2017. 

Buthelezi confirmed to Daily Maverick he had been on the ANC’s deployment committee since 2018, but referred his involvement on the committee to the party.

ANC legal adviser Krish Naidoo told Daily Maverick the party could not comment on the minutes because it was unclear how access to them had been granted. He said that while the DA had launched a court application for access to the ANC’s deployment committee records between 2013 and 2021, the ANC was opposing this. He confirmed the courts were still to hear the matter.

Naidoo questioned how the DA’s Leon Schreiber gained access to the minutes when they had been given to the Zondo Commission with the strict understanding they were only to be used for the cross-examination of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. While there was no clarity on how the minutes had been released, and given the litigation, Naidoo said the party could not comment on the minutes themselves. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    So what was the point of this piece, other than to tell Josephine public again that Buthelezi is a scumbag of note who helped deploy high ranking scumbags of note? I’d be keen to hear how the government is responding to the challenges of public transport in SA and if it has a plan and how far along the track we are to having a thought out public transport system.

    • Kanu Sukha says:

      We can’t be far along the “track” of public transport … because the tracks have been stolen and sold for scrap … so the Chinese can resell it to us in the form of trains ! Even as “tall” ones !

  • chris schoeman says:

    I has now been established, beyond doubt, that the ANC is a criminal enterprise. It is not political party, is is not a “ruling party”. The President is nothing more than the “godfather” of a criminal gang. Nothing more needs to be said. Do not be fooled by the facade. Recognise the ANC for what it is. It cannot be overstated….criminal enterprise; nothing more and nothing less. CS

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    I have a simple question : why would the minutes of meetings of any ‘public representative’ organisation NOT be available to the ‘public’ they are supposed to serve ? Why the need for a ‘court order’ to get access ? Are they working for Putin or Xi or any of the several other would be ‘rulers of the world’ ?

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    Maybe mr Naidoo can assist the public by even questioning the ‘existence’ of minutes … or now in the light of the inexplicable fire that burnt down our legislature … that it went up in smoke ! So much for CR moving the ‘security’ portfolio into the presidency, after the July carnage … or I think he called it an ‘insurrection’ ? Well done !

  • Ludovici DIVES says:

    Section 18 of the CPA that provides the right to prosecute any offence will lapse after the expiry of a period of 20 years from the time when the offence was committed, except for certain specific offences such as murder, rape or treason.
    Amend to
    Section 18 of the CPA provides the right to prosecute any offence from the time when the offence was committed

  • Chris 123 says:

    One big ANC looting scheme and if you kicked 10% back to them you got a stay out of jail card.

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