S. African ex-minister denies ‘sexist’ graft allegations
South Africa’s former environment minister Nomvula Mokonyane on Monday dismissed corruption allegations against her as sexist and “very disrespectful”.
outh Africa’s former environment minister Nomvula Mokonyane on Monday dismissed corruption allegations against her as sexist and “very disrespectful”.
An executive of the Bosasa company, a state contractor, had accused Mokonyane of accepting bribes, cases of beer and whiskey and huge deliveries of meat as the government awarded it lucrative contracts.
Mokonyane was testifying before South Africa’s judicial commission overseeing an investigation into state corruption under Jacob Zuma, who was president from 2009 to 2018.
Angelo Agrizzi, the Bosasa executive, last year implicated Mokonyane and several other officials in a web of fraud and bribery that he said sought to ward off investigations into the company.
He said Mokonyane, who served as Zuma’s water and sanitation minister between 2014 and 2018, received monthly cash payments of 50,000 rand (around $3,000).
“I’ve never benefitted or received any goods to the benefit of my family,” Mokonyane said in emotional testimony, calling Agrizzi’s allegations “very disrespectful (and) insensitive”.
“I find Agrizzi’s testimony undermining and sexist… I think Mr Agrizzi hates women,” she said, adding that his testimony reflected his “chauvinistic and… self-confessed racist character”.
Agrizzi testified that for more than a decade, Bosasa – renamed African Global Operations in 2017 – used bribes to secure huge profits through contracts with government departments and state-owned companies.
Government contracts made up the bulk of Bosasa’s operations.
Mokonyane on Monday confirmed that the company worked with the government as well as the ruling African National Congress, but said she did not personally benefit.
he rubbished claims that she had received bags stuffed with cash to capitalise on her influence over then president Zuma on behalf of Bosasa.
Mokonyane also dismissed allegations that Bosasa had paid for her son’s funeral, and bought her Christmas gifts including 120 cases of cold drinks, four cases of high-quality whisky, 40 cases of beer, eight butchered lambs, 12 cases of frozen chicken and 200 kilogrammes (440 pounds) of barbecue beef, as well as bottles of brandy and speciality alcohol.
The commission chaired by the deputy chief justice, Raymond Zondo, is due to continue sitting until March 2021.
Zuma’s successor President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to tackle corruption in South Africa, which has been led by the ANC since Nelson Mandela came to power in 1994 after the end of apartheid.