By Makhosandile Zulu
The alleged bribe to the foundation was paid in an alleged effort to solicit a R1 billion deposit from Prasa.
The South African Reserve Bank’s report titled The Great Bank Heist, which looked at the alleged wide-scale looting of VBS Mutual Bank, alleges that former president Jacob Zuma’s foundation received R1 million from the bank.
The R1 million allegedly paid by the bank to the Jacob G Zuma Foundation is suspected to be a bribe paid in an effort to solicit a R1 billion deposit from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).
The report, compiled by Advocate Terry Motau, revealed that the bank had solicited deposits from municipalities and that, at some point, it ambitiously set its sights on the vast sums in the purse of parastatals and state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
“This led to various attempts to obtain enormous deposits from Prasa,” Motau wrote in the report.
According to testimony by former VBS treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane, a group of South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) officials were allegedly paid R1.5 million as “commission” as they had claimed they would be able to facilitate the Prasa deposit.
“According to Mukhodobwane’s understanding, the successful facilitation of the deposit from Prasa would be dependent upon ‘NDZ’ [Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma] succeeding to the presidency of the ANC at the party’s elective conference held in December 2017,” Motau wrote.
After President Cyril Ramaphosa unexpectedly beat Dlamini-Zuma in the party’s presidential race, a renewed attempt to solicit the R1 billion deposit from Prasa was made in January this year.
Mukhodobwane stated that it would have cost VBS much more to solicit the deposit from Prasa than the 9.25% interest rate for 12 months which would have accrued on the agency’s deposit.
It would have cost the bank much more because “commissions” of between R30 million and R40 million would have had to be paid to highly placed officials at Prasa.
“He confirmed that the deposit was ultimately not made by Prasa and said that the multimillion-rand bribe was not paid by VBS,” Motau wrote.
The investigator said when Mukhodobwane was asked about the alleged bribe to Satawu officials, he responded that it could have been paid and that the payment could have taken place around December 2017.
“He then stated that ‘I know for a fact that we were asked to put money into the Dudu Myeni Foundation’.
“He confirmed that he gave an instruction to make payment to what he referred to as the ‘Dudu Myeni Foundation’, stating that ‘it was just a donation, because they were going to make our life easier. Because Dudu Myeni does not work for Prasa, so I can’t say she was going to influence the process’,” Motau wrote.
According to the report, Mukhodobwane believed that the payment to the “Dudu Myeni Foundation” was not R1.5 million, but only R1 million.
“I understand that there is no entity known as the Dudu Myeni Foundation. I assume that Ramavhunga intended to refer to the Jacob G Zuma Foundation, which is chaired by Myeni.
“Ramavhunga stated that he could not recall who told him that VBS needed to make a donation to the ‘Dudu Myeni Foundation’.
“He informed us that he recalled some form of e-mail correspondence in which the ‘donation aspect’ was put in writing. However, no such correspondence has been provided.
“Ramavhunga stated that the request for a donation to the ‘Dudu Myeni Foundation’ arose at the same time as the Prasa deal.”
The explosive report into the alleged looting of the bank does not make mention of the home loan Zuma took out to pay for the previously state-funded upgrades at his Nkandla homestead.