JOHANNESBURG – Why would you hold an investigation into state capture by the Gupta family – who owned ANN7 and The New Age and used those media houses to further their corrupt activities – in a building owned by Tiso Blackstar, the owners of among others, Business Day and Sunday Times?
This was the question raised by EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi in an interview with the SABC’s Leanne Manas on Tuesday morning.
“It turns the commission into a Mickey Mouse,” said Ndlozi.
“Wasn’t there a public building? Even if it’s a court, even if it’s the Constitutional Court – under places that are owned by the state; that are owned by the public; where the Zondo commission could have been constituted and held?” asked Ndlozi.
Ndlozi insisted that attempts to link his party to the collapsed VBS Mutual Bank were just “an attempt to divert attention” from the issue of the commission which is “investigating media houses sitting at the headquarters of Tiso Blackstar.”
Ndlozi’s comments come after EFF leader Julius Malema last week also ripped into Tiso Blackstar and the Zondo Commission while addressing a crowd outside the Tiso Blackstar building in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Malema claimed that the owners of the Tiso Blackstar were in cahoots with Pravin Gordhan “the state capture enabler”.
“When we defended this commission in court, this is not what we envisioned. A commission that takes place in an expensive building, when judges always mention a waste of state resources in their judgments? Why didn’t the chairperson of this commission not encourage them to go look for a government hall?” asked Malema.
He further commented: “Why is Zondo and the whole commission not saving us money if they care about us? I never imagined the commission in a luxurious building. I fought for this commission, I never imagined it costing taxpayers millions of rands.”
In early November, Independent Media reported that a subsidiary of Tiso Blackstar is profiting from leasing out a building to the Zondo Commission for a contract worth an estimated R3 million. It was also alleged that the process did not go out to tender.
The contract with the subsidiary was scheduled for 24 months with an option to renew should the work of the commission continue beyond the lease term.
The story first appeared on IOL