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CHILDREN OF THE CON

ANC politicians’ kids showered with favours, gifts and contracts thanks to State Capture cash

Katleho Mokonyane, Andile Ramaphosa, Thalente Myeni, Duduzane Zuma and Tshepiso Magashule have at least two things in common: Their parents were all top government officials at one point and they have all been named during the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. Photos: Supplied, except for Myeni’s and Zuma’s, which were taken by Luba Lesolle and Sharon Seretlo of Gallo Images

Homes. Cars. Money. These ANC children soaked up the trickle-down proceeds of corruption.

Don’t touch politicians’ kids. The Zondo Commission found this out when inquiry investigators subpoenaed the bank records of former president Jacob Zuma’s children and an irate Zuma accused them of “crossing the line”.

Former Cabinet minister Nomvula Mokonyane was similarly outraged by allegations made at the commission about her children, and suggested they were part of an orchestrated plot to demonise her offspring.

But now there is no doubt that some children of ANC leaders benefited from the proceeds of State Capture.

The three volumes of the State Capture report released so far have established that a number of these political scions were given favours, gifts and contracts as a result of their parents’ proximity to power.

Others, though named at the commission, have yet to be mentioned in the reports.

Katleho Mokonyane, daughter of Nomvula Mokonyane

“There was extensive evidence of a wide range of benefits that were given to Ms Mokonyane and her family by Bosasa and its leadership,” the third instalment of the State Capture report read.

It was Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi who drew the attention of the Zondo Commission to Katleho Mokonyane. Agrizzi claimed that, as part of the wider parcel of bribes paid by Bosasa to former minister Mokonyane, Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson would hire luxury cars for her daughter on her visits home from China, where she was studying.

No doubt to her daughter’s chagrin, Mokonyane offered up Katleho’s life history to the Zondo Commission to try to defend this practice. Mokonyane testified that, after Katleho had attended boarding school at the elite Roedean in Johannesburg, Mokonyane “opted to take her away from this messy environment where our children were immediate targets”. Katleho was sent to China, where she ended up staying for 12 years, to pursue further studies and master Mandarin.

Mokonyane said her daughter was offered vacation work by Watson during this period because her fluency in Mandarin was useful to the Bosasa CEO and because Watson had known Katleho since she was a child. She denied this arrangement had anything to do with her own political status.

Mokonyane did not deny that Katleho also benefited from the rental of a Bosasa-sponsored “premium vehicle such as [an] Audi A3”, as Agrizzi had claimed, when she was visiting from China – but simply said that this was a result of the warmth that existed between Watson and Katleho.

Katleho Mokonyane was not named in the Bosasa-related recommendations of the latest Zondo Report. But she may face other problems: in her capacity as a director of a company called Tuwo Rhodesia.

Katleho was also cited by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in January 2022 as having benefited from PPE corruption.

Katleho’s company was awarded a contract worth nearly R2.8-million for Dettol soap bars in March 2020 without a competitive bidding process being followed. The SIU said the company profited “to the tune of R1.1-million”.

Andile Ramaphosa, son of Cyril Ramaphosa

Andile Ramaphosa’s company Blue Crane Capital signed an “advisory” contract with Bosasa from which it would eventually net R230,000 monthly just days before the December 2017 ANC electoral conference from which Ramaphosa senior would emerge as party president. The work Andile did for Bosasa involved bringing in business from the African continent.

Asked why he had agreed to work with Bosasa despite acknowledging that he was aware of the company’s dodgy reputation, Andile subsequently told News24 that “it was a severe oversight on our part”.

Zondo found, however, that Ramaphosa junior had no case to answer as he had not been directly implicated in wrongdoing per se.

Duduzane Zuma, son of Jacob Zuma

Duduzane Zuma’s intimacy with the Gupta family was a matter of public record long before the Zondo Commission; he served as director or shareholder of too many Gupta companies to name.

The 2017 Guptaleaks emails helped to flesh out some of the detail, including that the Guptas had helped Duduzane to buy an R18-million flat in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa skyscraper where he spent most of the pandemic holed up.

In a September 2017 BBC interview, Duduzane said: “I’m not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. It is something I have had to work for. The decision I took to partner with the brothers, the Gupta family, it is a decision that I took that I don’t regret. I’m super happy with it.”

Part Two of the State Capture report mentioned Duduzane Zuma in connection with Denel, with Zondo stating: “Mr Tony Gupta’s idea was that the government officials and state-owned enterprise officials would have realised that through Mr Duduzane Zuma he had easy access to Mr Duduzane Zuma’s father, president Zuma.”

Although Zuma senior was recommended for potential prosecution in the latest State Capture report, Duduzane has yet to feature in a similar referral.

Thalente Myeni, son of Dudu Myeni

Former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni’s son Thalente was fingered in the first State Capture report on SAA, as a result of testimony given by anonymous witness Mr X – who told the commission how R3.15-million was transferred from Thalente’s business to the business account of Mr X. Mr X said he was instructed by Myeni to use the money to give her cash and make payments to other beneficiaries, including the Jacob Zuma Foundation. The source of the money was from the Free State government, allegedly laundered through Thalente’s accounts.

Thalente was not explicitly named in the Zondo recommendations, but the report stated that the flow of these funds needs to be investigated “to establish whether there was a corrupt relationship between any of these parties in terms of which state funds were redirected to benefit private parties, including the Jacob Zuma Foundation”.

Vincent Smith’s daughter, unnamed

The Zondo Commission heard from Angelo Agrizzi how Bosasa paid the university fees for ANC MP Vincent Smith’s daughter at Aberystwyth University in Wales in 2015. Smith did not dispute this – the total fees paid by Bosasa, he told the commission, amounted to “six hundred and something thousand”, but said it was a personal loan from Agrizzi as a friend.

“It is quite a lot of money to ask from a individual, is it not?” mused Zondo during Smith’s September 2020 appearance. Smith admitted that indeed it was.

Smith also conceded that he had asked Gavin Watson for a car for his daughter, telling the commission: “My daughter came home from school. I had approached a friend: Listen, give me a little run-around. And I approached Gavin Watson for it. I received it, chairperson, that little run-around.”

The State Capture report’s third part found that there was a prima facie case of corruption to be made against Smith – who is already facing charges of fraud, money laundering and corruption – because it was “improbable that Mr Smith did not know that the assistance he received from Bosasa was on a quid-pro-quo basis because Mr Smith had, by his own admission, been shocked by the amount of corruption that the SIU alleged was associated with Bosasa”.

Tshepiso Magashule, son of Ace Magashule

Tshepiso Magashule, son of suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, was first revealed to be enjoying Gupta patronage in 2011, when City Press reported that he was driving a BMW Z4 owned by the Guptas. Tshepiso’s defence at the time was that this was not untoward, because he was employed by a Gupta company. In 2019, former Free State economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana would tell the Zondo Commission that the hiring of Tshepiso by the Guptas was facilitated by Magashule senior.

The Guptaleaks emails revealed that Tshepiso and twin brother Thato enjoyed a lavish 2015 holiday in Dubai on the Gupta dime. Four years previously, Tshepiso had taken a three-week trip to New York and Venice with the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma.

When things went south for the Guptas after the publication of the 2017 Guptaleaks stories, Tshepiso had to be evicted from a Gupta property in Saxonwold in which he had been living because the house was slated for sale by business rescue practitioners.

On a happier note for him, however, Tshepiso and his brother were awarded PPE contracts worth R2.7-million by the Free State government in July 2020. Neither has been mentioned in State Capture report findings up to this point. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper which is available for R25 at Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books and airport bookstores. For your nearest stockist, please click here.

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All Comments 11

  • Zuma called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the ANC. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the ANC as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

  • Ms Rebecca Davis you forgot Ms Ayanda Sisulu daughter of Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Mr Siviwe Mapisa brother of ex Minister now Parliament Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Mr Gibson Njenje ex NIA and his wife Baba Njenje, Ms Nozuko Pikoli wife of Mr Vusi Pikoli ex NDPP all associated with Watsons BOSASA famous in mining company Simmer and Jack Mines Limited

  • I love the title of this article “Children of the Con’. Surely we can’t expect the children of people that have no conscience and no integrity to have children any different from them no matter where they were educated. Human nature dictates that we take the line of least resistance and it takes great strength of character to stick to the right path in solidarity with what you sprout.

  • I think Edward Kieswetter is going to need more SARS staff to conduct all theses needed tax audits. Let’s see what was declared.

  • Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted