Fana Hlongwane

(Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lisa Hnatowicz)

Fana Hlongwane: Who is the man who keeps popping up in the State Capture Inquiry?

Controversial businessman Fana Hlongwane featured prominently in testimony from Mcebisi Jonas.

Fana Hlongwane

(Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lisa Hnatowicz)

Fana Hlongwane has long been linked to various dodgy activities in South Africa. After originally being linked back to the arms deal in 2008, the controversial businessman is now having his name dragged through the mud at the State Capture Inquiry. Ok, his name keeps popping up, but who is he really?

Fana Hlongwane: Why does he keep getting mentioned?

If you type Fana Hlongwane’s name into Google, you are immediately bombarded with hundreds of articles describing his links to multiple different illegal “State Capture” dealings.

The Arms Deal

While not much is known about his personal life, Hlongwane has been investigated by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office in connection with alleged kickbacks he received during SA’s infamous arms deal.

Those kickbacks are said to have been hundreds of millions of rands. This guy is no small time player, maybe that’s why he has the nickname “Stylez”. The R200m in kickbacks is said to have been distributed amongst ANC members as bribes.

“His name has become synonymous with a high-flying lifestyle in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs and he also goes by the name “Styles” because of his taste for the good things in life. He has been described as a smooth operator never shy to advertise his close association with the late former defence minister, Joe Modise, and others in the ANC’s top hierarchy,” a Cape Times article described him back in 2008.

Hlongwane was the chairman of the Ngwane Group of defence companies. The group focussed on the advanced development of military vehicles. On top of all that, he has been a director of SA’s own Denel as well as 20 other companies.

He testified in 2014 at the arms procurement commission and insisted that he had done no wrong.

From bribes for planes to bribes for ministers

During his testimony at the State Capture Inquiry, former Deputy Finance minister Mcebisi Jonas retold of how Hlongwane tricked him into a meeting with the Gupta family and Duduzane Zuma.

According to Jonas, Hlongwane had informed him that the Guptas would be able to offer many positives to the state. He then put Jonas in touch with Duduzane Zuma who encouraged him to go with him to the Guptas Saxonwold home for a meeting.

Read – Mcebisi Jonas: “Guptas said they’d kill me” and four other bombshell revelations

Once he arrived, the Guptas offered him R600m (that’s not a mistake) to take up the position of Finance Minister. He was even offered R600 000 in cash right then to “show how serious” the Guptas were.

Jonas was warned not to tell anyone about the meeting because they “had information to destroy his political career”. At one point Jonas was even threatened with death.

Jonas refused all bribes but while this was all going on, Hlongwane and Zuma werre said to have sat in the room and looked on.

It is not yet clear if Hlongwane will be called to testify during the State Capture Inquiry.