Mail and Guardian
Here are the people the auditors’ report identifies as having paid more than R7-million to benefit Jacob Zuma between 1995 and 2006.
Schabir Shaik – R4 072 500
Schabir Shaik is one of the band of brothers that included ANC underground operatives Moe and Yunis – who served under Jacob Zuma in ANC intelligence – and younger sibling Chippy, who occupied the pivotal position of chief of defence acquisitions during the arms deal.
Prior to democracy, Shaik had been involved in the covert management of ANC funds, which gave him an introduction to the party’s then-treasurer, Thomas Nkobi.
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After 1994, both Nkobi and Shaik were proponents of the Malaysian Bumiputera model, a concept that entailed the establishment of businesses aligned with a political party.
When Nkobi died in September 1994, Shaik found himself shut out by the ANC hierarchy.
In May 1995 Nkobi’s successor, Makhenkesi Stofile, wrote to Shaik telling him that, after a meeting with ANC officials, he was considered to “have no position within the ANC” and Stofile had been instructed to cut off communication.
The KPMG report notes: “It is during this time when the name of Zuma started surfacing in documents at our disposal … Shaik ceased to act on behalf of the ANC (in an official capacity) but continued his business dealings under the name of the Nkobi group, involving Zuma in various instances.”
It was then that Shaik also began to style himself variously as Zuma’s “financial adviser” and “economic adviser”. Zuma, fresh from exile and with a large and growing collection of dependants, was open to Shaik’s assistance.
The first payment to Zuma took place on October 25 1995 – and the KPMG report traces how a pattern of mutual favours developed.
KPMG notes: “It is evident that Zuma … at various points, and especially with regard to the relationship of the Nkobi group with the Thomson group of companies, attended meetings and visits with representatives of the Nkobi group on issues that were of interest to the Nkobi group.”
With his brother Chippy heading defence acquisition, Shaik was well placed to benefit from the decision in the 1990s to re-equip the navy. Early on, he sought an alliance with the French defence conglomerate Thomson-CSF.
Thomson was also seeking access to and business from the new ANC elite. The KPMG report sketches how cynically the French calculated their success, which they believed would be dependent on pleasing the politicians and choosing the “right” local partners.
And the abrasive Shaik was vulnerable. Parallel to its relationship with him, Thomson was wooing Reuel Khoza’s CNI group, perceived to be more favoured by Thabo Mbeki, then the deputy president.
Zuma was Shaik’s trump card and, as the report makes clear, he shamelessly used his proximity to Zuma to cajole or bully his way into deals.
Zuma’s key interventions came in July 1998 when he accompanied Shaik to a meeting in London with one of Thomson’s top executives to reassure the French of Shaik’s suitability – and later in Durban, where he was present when the formal allocation to Nkobi of a shareholding in Thomson was confirmed.
In turn, Zuma was not shy about taking advantage of the financial resources Shaik provided (sometimes grudgingly, given his own precarious cash position).
By way of illustration: Zuma’s reliance on funding from Shaik grew from one payment of R3 500 in 1995 to 176 payments totalling R534 858 in 2004 and, finally, 61 payments totalling R819 333 in the first six months of 2005, ending just after Shaik’s conviction for bribery. The total over 10 years: R4 072 500
By then, the real ambivalence of the Zuma-Shaik relationship had been captured in a way not even KPMG’s figures can match.
Shaik’s secretary testified that her boss had complained about “politicians”, exclaiming one day that he “has to carry a jar of Vaseline because he gets fucked all the time, but that’s okay because he gets what he wants and they get want they want”.
Nelson Mandela – R1-million-plus
Jacob Zuma seems to have been identified fairly early on as a financial “problem child” by Nelson Mandela.
The KPMG report quotes from a 1998 internal Absa memo when the bank was considering taking on Zuma, then the ANC deputy president, as a client.
The memo referred to the supposed fact that Zuma had been disciplined by Mandela and then-ANC treasurer Mendi Msimang over the conduct of his financial affairs. It also stated that Mandela had apparently agreed to settle Zuma’s debts – “this info to be handled strictly confidential”.
“The source of the payment could not be disclosed to us at this stage. The amount to be paid will be R1.5-million,” the Absa memo said.
However, no funding appears to have been received from Mandela until October 2000, when the then retired president endorsed a R2-million cheque to Zuma.
R1-million of that was destined as a donation to the charitable education trust Zuma had founded and was duly paid over by Zuma.
Whether the other R1-million was intended for Zuma’s personal benefit is unclear. Zuma issued a cheque for R1-million to an account in the name of the Development Africa Trust that had been opened by Durban businessperson Vivian Reddy. Read more…