Mapaila defends Zokwana, claims he’s an anti-corruption buster

Mapaila says the City Press article should have mentioned Zokwana's crusade against corruption.

South African Communist Party (SACP) second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila this morning told the SABC that the City Press was selective in its reporting about the alleged investigation of Zenzile Zokwana.

Zokwana is the SACP national chairperson, and was recently retained in the portfolio of agriculture, fisheries and forestry during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent Cabinet reshuffle upon ascending to the highest position.

Mapaila also said his organisation stood by Zokwana, as the law requires all suspects to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. He also said the reporter omitted to mention that Zokwana had won a court case in the Cape Town High Court in which be blocked some abalone tenders.

The City Press reported on Sunday that former president Jacob Zuma was being investigated by the Hawks for allegedly accepting a R1-million cash bribe from a Western Cape abalone dealer in exchange for keeping Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana in his Cabinet.

City Press reported that in the affidavit, deposed at the Lyttelton Police Station in Centurion in December, businessman Chaile Seretse further alleges that Zokwana, union federation Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini and agriculture department deputy director-general Siphokazi Ndudane each received a R300 000 bribe from the same businessman, Deon Larry.

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Mapaila said that while leaders must provide ethical leadership and be above reproach, they would not jump to conclusions and would regard Zokwana as guilty until proven otherwise.

“We currently view them [details in the reported affidavit] as mere allegations. We have spoken to our chairperson who has denied the allegations,” Mapaila said.

He said the SACP itself had in the past pioneered anti-corruption campaigns and that even though the contents of the affidavit were mere allegations, they viewed those allegations in a serious light.

“We take the matter serious. We launched a rolling mass action against corruption and criminality. We have comrades who died in that campaign. We have dedicated the entire crusade against corruption,” he said.

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