Makhosandile Zulu
2 minute read
26 Nov 2019
1:04 pm

Shaik tells Zondo commission Nene’s nomination to Brics bank did not make sense

Makhosandile Zulu

The witness also told the commission that he was of the view that South Africa did not understand how the bank would work.

Former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. Picture: Gallo Images

The former head of foreign intelligence Rieaz “Mo” Shaik on Tuesday told the commission of inquiry into state capture that it would have been in breach of the Brics-operated New Development Bank’s (NDB) regulations had the former minister of finance, Nhlanhla Nene, been appointed as its regional head in Johannesburg on a nomination by South Africa.

Zuma at first replaced Nene with Des van Rooyen in December 2015, however, a few days later the latter was replaced by Pravin Gordhan.

Nene, after his removal, was announced as South Africa’s nominee to head the Africa regional centre for the NDB in Johannesburg.

Shaik told the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that the bank’s regulations and its relevant instruments guiding it in the appointment of personnel did not permit that a shareholder could nominate personnel to be appointed.

He added that it would have been the bank’s management that would decide who would assume the position it was announced Nene had been nominated for.

Shaik said the position Nene had been nominated for was eventually advertised.

“There is no way a shareholder could impose on the management of the bank a nominee,” Shaik said.

He added that Nene’s nomination for the position within the bank did not make sense and that the former minister would take up the position as he had served at a higher position as governor.

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Shaik said that he was of the view that South Africa did not really understand how the bank would work,  and how its mechanisms would function.

He told the commission about how disinformation had affected different presidential administrations since the first democratic elections in 1994 and that pieces of information that may be true were put together as false reports when these disinformation campaigns were carried out.

These false reports include the Browse Mole and Spider Web reports, which Shaik said emanated from sources “you can’t quite locate”.

“We were deeply concerned by this phenomenon,” Shaik told the commission, adding that this led to a specialist on the matter, a Ghanian by the name of Kofi Bentum Quanston, being invited in 2010 for a seminar on how to deal with bogus informants and reports and how to manage and neutralise the phenomenon of disinformation.

“It has been a source of destabilisation of our government through various epochs.”

It was important that South Africa should rely on its intelligence services for fact-checking and ensure that these services were well equipped and were allowed to deal with disinformation, Shaik said.

“These reports emanate from out of the blue,” Shaik said.

Former spy boss Gibson Njenje has taken the witness stand at the commission. Watch live courtesy of the SABC:

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