Publication: City Press Issued: Date: 2004-10-16 Reporter: Wonder Hlongwa

Zulu Queen : Where's Cash from Mandela



City Press

Date 2004-10-16


Wonder Hlongwa

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Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini's first wife Queen Sibongile Dlamini, who was the intended recipient of part of the R2 million paid by former president Nelson Mandela to Deputy President Jacob Zuma's account, is crying foul. She claims she never received a cent of the cash.

Queen Sibongile approached Mandela in 2000 and complained that King Goodwill was no longer looking after her - and she needed money to renovate dilapidated houses in her palace compound and money to send some of her children to tertiary institutions, since the provincial government would not look after them after matric. This week the Durban High Court heard how Zuma's financial adviser Schabir Shaik, who is standing trial for fraud and corruption, transferred the money from Zuma's account to Floryin Investments - one of his companies.

R1 million of Mandela's R2 million was intended for the Jacob Zuma RDP Education Trust and the other R1 million was intended for the Development Africa Trust (DAT) which would have paid the money for the renovation of Queen Sibongile's palace and also look after her and her children.

Vikaash Narsi, a builder, said he personally did the renovations at KwaKhetha palace but Queen Sibongile said she was not consulted about those renovations. She claims they did not fix problems that she had wanted to have done with the money requested.

She said she thought the builders had been instructed by King Zwelithini on what to do.

Narsi confirmed that Queen Sibongile was not consulted but instead instructions were taken from the director of Addison Power - Vivian Reddy.

Narsi said he did paving, tiling, alterations and renewed the bathroom of the main house.

A source close to the DAT said Shaik has not paid about R500 000 he owed to DAT and the trust had sent him a summons demanding that he pay the money.

Queen Sibongile said she sought legal opinion regarding her relationship with King Goodwill but the lawyers advised her not to go to court and instead to seek the intervention of a person that King Zwelithini would respect.

She phoned Mandela and requested a meeting.

Mandela offered to visit KwaKhetha in Nongoma where they discussed Queen Sibongile's plight.

She said Mandela offered to help and made the money available to Zuma to take care of her problems. Shaik then transferred it to his company's account.

It is understood that as Zuma's financial adviser, Shaik has access to deputy president's account.

"The house that I had requested money to be renovated is so badly dilapidated that it's growing wild mushrooms inside and I'm still suffering. I wonder why Mandela did not tell me that he released the money, at least so that I could say thank you," said Queen Sibongile.

She said she had given up on whether she would ever get the money she had requested from the former president.

Shaik pleaded not guilty to all charges. In his plea explanation, Shaik told the court that he did not know of DAT but has since learnt that it was set up to raise funds for the "care and welfare of tribal leaders and the Zulu Royal family".

Zuma's spokesperson Lakela Kaunda was unavailable for comment.

With acknowledgements to Wonder Hlongwa and the City Press.