Journalist Ranjeni Munusamy has submitted an affidavit to the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, in which she applies for leave to cross-examine Colonel Kobus Roelofse, who implicated her in his testimony at the commission.
Roelofse alleged Munusamy received R143,621.70 from a secret slush fund allegedly used by state security crime intelligence officers. Similar accusations were made on Monday by ex-crime intelligence member Colonel Dhanajaya Naidoo, who accused her of getting her car serviced with money from the secret state security slush fund.
In the affidavit, Munusamy for the first time tells her side of the story. She had previously said that the allegations were baseless, but said she could only respond via the commission and was in the process of filing documents.
Now, in the affidavit, she calls the allegations an “attack” on her “craft as a journalist”.
Munusamy confirmed that R143,621.70 was paid from Atlantis Motors, as had been alleged by Roelofse, but says there is no connection between this company and crime intelligence.
Rather, she says a close family friend who is “like a brother” to her, Basheer Ahmed Abdool, paid the remaining money owed on her car.
She says she was unaware at the time that the payment was made through car dealership Atlantis Motors, as Basheer cancelled the purchase of a Nissan Hardbody he was going to buy to help Munusamy. He paid for the car in cash, but was told he couldn’t get his cash back but could have the money transferred, and chose to give them Munusamy’s banking details so the money would be paid directly into her Wesbank Finance account.
Munusamy says she was contacted by Roelofse in 2014 and informed that he was investigating her with regards to the car payment, but says he did not contact her again after she brought a lawyer along to meet with him. She says that while Roelofse claims she wouldn’t cooperate, in reality he said he would contact her and never did.
The journalist says while the payment was made from Atlantis motors, this is a legitimate car dealership and the “sinister spin” Roelofse has put on the transaction is incorrect.
She also says that she was not a journalist at the time and only became one again four years later, meaning there would have been no way a payment made to her could have been used to influence her writing in the media.
She acknowledges Naidoo’s testimony, which she says was mainly hearsy based on Roelofse’s account.
“I have no idea what the motives are of those who have accused me and why I have been targeted,” she writes.
“I state unequivocally, I have never been in the pay of Crime Intelligence, as a journalist or otherwise”.
She says while the allegations have already damaged her reputation, and caused her “significant stress and anguish”, she “will not let this intimidate me in carrying out my role as a journalist with professionalism, independence and integrity”.
(Background reporting, Makhosandile Zulu)