‘Gupta minister’ again found guilty by parliament

Henry

Mosebenzi Zwane, former Minister of Mineral Resources, has been fined 50% of his monthly salary and must apologize by March 29 this year for his ties to the Gupta family.

Zwane, currently an ANC MP, was found guilty by the committee on powers and privileges on Tuesday of conduct amounting to contempt of parliament. He was found guilty of failing to apologize to the National Assembly (NA) for his Gupta ties on two occasions.

The parliamentary committee for ethics and members’ interests found in March last year that Zwane had breached the code of ethics for members of parliament. Among other things, it was recommended that he apologize for his dealings with the Gupta family. However, he failed to do so at two sittings of the NA, on 2 May and 6 September, after which the matter was referred to the committee on powers and privileges for a disciplinary hearing.

Zwane pleaded not guilty to the charge of contempt of parliament. He gave reasons for his failure to appear before the NA on the two occasions, but no evidence was presented to the committee in this regard.

At the time, it was found that Zwane had, among other things, appointed advisers who were business partners of the notorious Gupta brothers and had also failed to declare that in 2015 he had traveled around Dubai and India at the expense of these brothers.

Zwane is one of the members of parliament implicated in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s much-discussed report on state capture. According to the report, he helped the Gupta family to unlawfully exercise influence over the state and state-controlled institutions. He denied the allegations at the time.

Meanwhile, Zwane is criminally charged with fraud in relation to the much-discussed Estina dairy project, during which millions of rand of taxpayers’ money was channeled via the dairy farm to pay for a luxurious Gupta wedding at Sun City. Zwane was the provincial MEC for agriculture when the Estina project kicked off.

This trial will take place in August this year.