Publication: News24 Issued: Date: 2001-01-22 Reporter: Editor:

Mbeki Organogram Mystery Solved

Publication  News24
Date 2001-01-22
Web Link

Johannesburg - After a flurry of speculation, finger-pointing and denials, the mystery of the author of the organograms shown on national television by President Thabo Mbeki, while explaining his reasons for excluding Judge Willem Heath's Special Investigative Unit from the probe into South Africa's controversial R43 billion deal has been solved.

The author is Martin Welz, editor of the Cape-based investigative magazine Noseweek.

Mbeki said in a special TV broadcast in which he explained his reasons for Heath's non-inclusion, that the organograms implied that both he and former President Nelson Mandela were linked to suspected corruption with regard to the arms deal.

"No such thing," Welz told News24 in a telephone interview on Monday. "The organograms were merely research documents drawn up by me to map out how anyone trying to influence decisions or seek favours with government would possibly conduct his approach."

"These organograms were mere research documents for an article we are researching on the arms deal - the first part of which was published in our August addition," Welz said.

Mbeki's reference to the organograms has led to much speculation on the author of the documents, with some people presuming that they originated in Heath's offices or were part of the material supplied to the unit by PAC MP Patricia de Lille, who instigated the probe into the deal after announcing that she had received incriminating evidence of irregularities in the deal.

"How the president got hold of a copy of the document and how he was led to believe that it was authorised by Judge Heath is a mystery. Judge Heath had nothing to do with it and I believe President Mbeki owes him an apology for implying that he was the author," Welz told News24.

De Lille also denied knowledge of the organograms and confirmed to News24 in a telephone interview on Monday that the organograms were not among the items she had handed over to the Heath unit.

"I knew absolutely nothing about their source until I now heard that they were drawn up by Mr Welz," De Lille said.

A theory offered by Welz for the documents reaching Mbeki is that one of the presidentís intelligence operatives could have a acquired copy of the organogram from some source. "He could then have jumped to all the wrong conclusions, one of these being that the document emanated from Judge Heath's office," Welz said.

In an interview this weekend, Judge Heath denied ever having seen the organogram until a copy was supplied to him by a newspaper after Mbeki's TV address.

"The contents are obviously not correct. I would never accuse either man of negative actions involving the arms deal. In fact, I am sure that neither did anything improper," he said."

Meanwhile, Gavin Woods, chairman of Parliament's public accounts committee, says he is in possession of information which strongly points to a need to have an independent inquiry into the arms procurement package.

"The government does not know what information I have. We'll see who is right. The government potentially faces a crisis over this," says Woods.

Woods's words come in reaction to a strongly-worded letter from Deputy President Jacob Zuma, following Woods's request that the Heath Commission be included in the investigation into alleged corruption surrounding the arms deal.

In the letter Zuma challenged Woods to lay charges with the police and the speaker if he had information linking any person, including cabinet members, to the alleged corruption.

Zuma also wrote that Woods had implicated President Mbeki of being dishonest and corrupt in his former capacity as chairman of the cabinet committee that dealt with the contract. At the time that government decided on the contract, Mbeki was deputy president and chairman of the committee in question.

According to Zuma Woods had implicitly accused ministers Trevor Manuel, Alec Erwin, Stella Sigcau and former minister Joe Modise, who all served on the committee, as well as the governments of Britain, Sweden, Germany and Italy, and the companies involved in the contract.

Woods told Sunday newspaper Rapport that he would like to see Manuel, Erwin, Lekota and Jeff Radebe testify before the committee.

"But then it must be publicly, and before the media. They will then have the opportunity to step-by-step explain why they are attacking our viewpoints.

"Although we never liased with the ministers in person, we did so with officials in their departments, who were involved in preparing the documentation. The truth will be heard.

"The attack on me is an implicit attack on the legislature," Woods said.

With acknowledgment to News24.