Tokyo Sexwale has become the latest ANC veteran to add his voice to a growing number of calls to end corruption and state capture.
He was addressing the media at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs on Friday.
“It is devastating to see what is happening in South Africa. Corruption must be fought by all of us. It is important to fight corruption in South Africa.
“We fought for this country, and we cannot afford to see it washed down the drain just like this. I am a taxpayer and I do not like what I am seeing.”
Sexwale, a stalwart of the ANC’s struggle for freedom, called the conference to brief the media about his decision to appoint Advocate Geoff Budlender to look into allegations that Trillian Capital Partners could be linked to the Guptas.
Sexwale is the firm’s non executive chair.
This follows startling allegations told by a whistleblower to the Public Protector two weeks ago that Trillian’s chief executive, Eric Wood, had prior knowledge that Pres. Zuma planned to replace then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene with Des van Rooyen.
While state secrets and information continued to be leaked, Sexwale called on Zuma to explain to South Africans how “information which ought to have been in his head only leaked to the public”.
Part of Budlender’s probe will include finding out if:
- Anyone at Trillian knew in advance that Zuma would replace Nene with Van Rooyen.
- Anyone used or planned to use this information for commercial purposes.
- Any of the company’s staff had ties to the Gupta brothers and their businesses.
Sexwale said that, while he was not in the company when the incident allegedly took place, he could not ignore it.
“I was not part of Trillian when these matters happened. Nevertheless, if you are the head, you are the successor of the one who came before you. As such, you cannot look the other way and say, ‘I do not know.’”
Budlender, he added, should conduct the investigation as soon as possible to protect the reputation of the firm, and that of its clients and staff.
“We have full backing from the board and the investigation enjoys support from Wood and his management team.
“We all know leaks happen, but in this case it is not just a leak about who replaced who, it is also about those who wanted to commercially benefit from the [Cabinet] reshuffle.
“We cannot talk in corners [about corruption and state capture]. These matters are now in public.
“No stone should be left unturned. We want to know who acted on what, who knew what and who did what,” said Sexwale.