Zizi Kodwa

Zizi Kodwa was sworn in on Tuesday for the seventh Parliament. Image: Parliament of South Africa.

Newly sworn-in ANC MP Zizi Kodwa: State’s case against me is ‘nonexistent’

‘Honourable’ Zizi Kodwa is due back in court on 23 July 2024 to face charges of corruption after his arrest in early June.

Zizi Kodwa

Zizi Kodwa was sworn in on Tuesday for the seventh Parliament. Image: Parliament of South Africa.

Zizi Kodwa seems confident that the state does not have a winnable case against him.

Kodwa, who was sworn in as an ANC member of Parliament (MP) on Tuesday alongside uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party representatives, spoke to SABC News about his recent arrest over corruption charges.

“My innocence… I think the state’s case is nonexistent,” said Kodwa when asked by SABC News reporter Abra Barbier if he still maintained his innocence.

Kodwa and his co-accused, businessman Jehan Mackay, were arrested on 5 June 2024 by the Hawks and later charged with corruption.

The two appeared in the Palm Ridge Specialised Crime Court in Johannesburg on the same day, where they also faced charges of Contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, emanating from the period between April 2015 to February 2016, when Kodwa was ANC national spokesperson.

The two were later released on R30 000 bail each.

Zizi Kodwa
Businessman Jehan Mackay and former Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa in court. Image: X/Thabo Tshabalala

Zizi steps aside… sort of

After posting bail, Kodwa later resigned as minister of sport, arts and culture. And then on 6 June 2024, Kodwa stepped aside from his duties within the national working committee and national executive committee of the ANC, citing compliance with the party’s resolution on renewal and safeguarding the organisation’s reputation.

“I do this in strict compliance with ANC 55 conference resolution on renewal. In addition… to ensure avoidance [sic] and protection of the name and reputation of the organisation during the case proceedings against me.

“I remain a committed and a disciplined member of the African National Congress! I will keep you informed on the status and progress of my case,” said Kodwa in a letter sent to ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula.

This statement and the fact that he missed the first sitting of Parliament on 14 June, led many to believe to he would not be taking up a seat in the National Assembly.

And ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri also indicated similarly, telling journalists: “On the matter of Zizi Kodwa, the step-aside policy of the ANC will kick in. Or rather, the constitution of the ANC will kick in. We respect the rule of law.”

The ANC’s step-aside rule says members indicted in a court of law cannot stand for election in any leadership position in the party.

“It stipulates that those charged in a court of law cannot hold government positions as ministers, deputy ministers, MECs or MMCs.

“They may also not hold positions of responsibility in the legislative sector as speaker of the National Assembly, deputy speaker, chair of a portfolio committee or party whip,” as reported by Business Day.

Case against Kodwa and Mackay, according to the NPA

“He [Kodwa] received direct payments and luxury accommodation worth over R1,6 million paid by and/or facilitated by Mackay as gratifications for his interventions in government procurement processes to advance the interests of Mackay, TSS and EOH,” the National Prosecuting Authority said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The case emanates from testimony given by witnesses during the State Capture Commission, which alleged Mackay had tried to “induce Kodwa to interfere with procurement processes”.

“In February 2015, the State Information Technology Agency, a state-owned company charged with the responsibility of IT services to the government, advertised a tender worth R360 million for the appointment of two separate service providers for the provision of platinum access service solution for the government for five years as SITA could not render the said service.

“Nine companies, including EOH, were shortlisted for the tender and communication between the two accused suggests that EOH was disqualified and that Mackay then approached Kodwa for his intervention which allegedly resulted in the tender being cancelled,” the NPA further alleges.