Mandela Cheque Linked to Schabir Shaik
Estelle Ellis, Jeremy Gordin
The name of former president Nelson Mandela was unexpectedly introduced to court at the Schabir Shaik trial on Wednesday.
Mandela had donated R2-million towards the Jacob Zuma RDP Education Trust, but Billy Downer, for the prosecution, said part of it had been sucked into Shaik's elaborate money-moving schemes aimed at alleviating Zuma's spiralling Nkandla Development debt.
Downer alleged that on on October 2, 2000, Mandela had endorsed a cheque of R2-million for Zuma, apparently intended for the Jacob Zuma RDP Education Trust.
On October 17 Zuma paid the trust R1-million.
The next day, Shaik allegedly transferred R900 000 from Zuma's personal account to a company called Floryn Investments and during the period of November 3-30, this R900 000 was paid from Floryn to the Nkobi group in a series of transfers.
Two months later, on December 4, Zuma paid Development Africa R1-million by personal cheque, which Shaik - a week later - stopped payment on.
Shaik conceded on Wednesday that R2-million had been paid to Zuma by Mandela, but said he had not known what Development Africa was at the time.
Shaik later established that Dr Zweli Mkhize had been a trustee and that the money was intended for "confidential" ANC activities.
He later learnt, he said, that the trust was "to raise funds for the care and welfare of tribal leaders and the Zulu royal family".
The state said, however, that Development Africa had never been registered as a fundraising institution nor registered for tax purposes and that its major trustee was Vivian Reddy, a businessman assisting with the funding of the Nkandla development.
Meanwhile, the state's case started with a compliment on Thursday morning.
In his testimony, Professor Themba Sono, deputy president of the Independent Democrats, said: "I was extremely impressed with Schabir Shaik's fascinating vision of the role black people would play in the new South Africa."
Sono said he had been invited to Durban in April 1996. "A friend of mine said: 'Come to Durban.' I said: 'Send the plane ticket.' "
He had then met Shaik who he described as a "very articulate fellow". Shaik had asked him to become executive director of Nkobi Holdings.
"Shaik said we must bid for a variety of contracts especially in the government arena," Sono told the court.
As he understood it, Sono said this had meant bidding for contracts for Tollgate, the construction of roads and houses, IT contracts and the electronic work in the government's corvette deal.
"To be honest, I did not understand so clearly about the corvettes."
Sono added that he had been present at a meeting with French arms company Thomson Holdings (now known as Thint).
"We agreed that we would bid for public sector contracts."
He explained to the court that Thomson, Denel and Nkobi had then formed a company called ProDiba.
"One of the gentlemen explained to me that the name was a combination of Prosperity and Madiba."
Sono said ProDiba had later got the contract to convert South Africa's driver's licences to credit card format.
With acknowledgements to Estelle Ellis, Jeremy Gordin and the Cape Argus.