Publication: The Times Issued: Date: 2008-01-06 Reporter: Andre Jurgens Reporter: Yasantha Naidoo

Witnesses from All Walks of Life



The Times



Reporter Andre Jurgens
Yasantha Naidoo

Web Link

JOHAN VAN DER WALT: Nicknamed The Bloodhound, a forensic auditor from KPMG who researched Zuma's interests

RAENETTE TALJAARD: Former DA MP who asked Zuma if he had met Thetard or Shaik in Durban in March 2000. Zuma denies this

MAKHENKESI STOFILE: Former ANC treasurer-general who may be asked about Shaik's suspect use of the ANC

PATRICIA DE LILLE: Raised the alarm in Parliament about alleged arms deal corruption in September 1999

GAVIN WOODS: Former chairman of Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa)

ANDREW FEINSTEIN: Resigned from Parliament in 2001 in protest at the government's handling of the arms deal probe

VIVIAN REDDY: Casino boss who paid for Zuma's Nkandla Development traditional village

CRAIG VENTER: Expected to unravel the ownership of ADS, linked to Schabir Shaik

RICHARD YOUNG: Whose company CCII Systems lost out in supplying weapons technology

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Jacob Zuma at the Pietermaritzburg High Court, early last year, where he was opposing the state acquiring papers from Mauritius to build a case against him Picture: JACKIE CLAUSEN

WILLEM HEATH: Headed a unit which was excluded from being part of the probe into the arms deal

"Bianca Singh, Schabir Shaik's former secretary, is expected to shed light on Shaik and Zuma's relationship"

The state indictment lists at least 60 members of the Scorpions as state witnesses. There are also numerous computer experts and independent forensic auditors

In The Dock

The minister of Sport, a former judge, computer sleuths, bankers, secretaries, business tycoons, the owner of an exclusive clothing boutique and even Nelson Mandela's former attorney.

The state's list of 218 potential witnesses in Jacob Zuma's looming corruption trial reads like the cast of an arms-deal soap opera. But their testimony may have serious implications for Zuma's political future. Andre Jurgens and Yasantha Naidoo sketch some of the charactersJacob Zuma ­ newly elected ANC president and contender to become South Africa's next President.

The former Minister of Economic Affairs and Tourism in KwaZulu-Natal faces 16 charges, ranging from corruption and money laundering to fraud and racketeering. Zuma allegedly received over R4-million in payments from his "financial adviser", Schabir Shaik, who was convicted of corruption and fraud and sentenced to 15 years by the Durban High Court in 2005. The state claims Zuma benefited from 783 payments by Shaik and his companies between October 25 1995 and July 1 2005. Zuma is also implicated in a R500 000-a-year bribe from a French arms company in exchange for his protection during a probe into the controversial deal ­ valued at R30-billion (in 1999 rands).

Thint Holding (Southern Africa) (Pty) Ltd and Thint (Pty) Ltd ­ two local affiliates of Thales International (formerly called Thomson- CSF), a major player in the global defence industry. The two local companies are represented by Pierre Moynot.

On The Witness List:

The Secretaries

Bianca Singh: Schabir Shaik's former secretary at Nkobi Holdings. Expected to shed light on Shaik and Zuma's personal and business relationship.

Singh testified during Shaik's fraud and corruption trial about telephone calls from Chippy Shaik to Schabir requesting him to get Zuma's assistance in landing the corvette combat suite (part of the arms deal) and Schabir's subsequent telephone call to "JZ" conveying this request. Singh also testified about a secret "damage control" meeting during 2000 in Mauritius. Shaik, she said, confronted Thomson- CSF director Alain Thetard with a file of newspaper cuttings which raised alarm bells about South Africa's arms deal. Shaik warned Thetard about potential trouble should Judge Willem Heath investigate the deal. Singh left after a "personal incident" in Shaik's bungalow on the island and never returned to work for him.

ý Susan Delique, Thetard's former secretary. She allegedly typed and transmitted the famous "encrypted fax" on behalf of her boss, spelling out how Zuma was to allegedly receive R500 000 a year from Thomson CSF in exchange for protection during the arms deal investigations. Also on the witness list is another of Thetard's secretaries, Marion Marais, who testified in the Shaik trail about Thetard's attitude to corruption.

The Investigators

The state indictment lists at least 60 members of the Scorpions as state witnesses. There are also numerous computer experts and independent forensic auditors. Key among them is:

Johan van der Walt, nicknamed The Bloodhound, a forensic auditor from KPMG whose team compiled a detailed dossier on Zuma's financial affairs and business dealings.

The Political Faces

Raenette Taljaard, the former DA MP who, in 2003, asked Zuma in Parliament if he had met Thetard or Shaik on March 11 2000 (or on other dates) in Durban. Zuma denied meeting Thetard. Should his version prove to be untrue, he would have effectively lied to Parliament and the nation.

Makhenkesi Stofile, former ANC treasurer-general and current minister of Sport. Stofile may be asked to throw light on Shaik's suspect use of the ANC (while Stofile was treasurer-general) to further his own business interests.

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille. Raised the alarm about alleged arms deal corruption in Parliament in September 1999 as Cabinet announced the country would purchase aircraft, corvettes and submarines worth billions of rands.

De Lille then handed a potentially explosive arms deal dossier to Judge Willem Heath's special investigating unit.

Gavin Woods, former chairman of Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa). Zuma wrote him a letter in January 2001 ­ in his capacity as leader of government business in Parliament ­ stating there was no need for the Heath unit to be involved in an arms deal probe.

Woods later resigned from Scopa ­ Parliament's accounts watchdog ­ citing alleged interference by Zuma, Cabinet ministers and former ANC Chief Whip Tony Yengeni in the committee's oversight work.

Former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein, who also served on Scopa. He resigned from Parliament in 2001 in protest at government's handling of the investigation into the arms deal.

He has since penned a book, alleging widespread irregular arms deal wheeling and dealing.

Business Personalities

Casino boss and tycoon Vivian Reddy. Paid construction costs and bond instalments on the then Deputy President's home in Nkandla, northern KwaZulu-Natal. This included payment to contractor Eric Malengret, who consistently struggled to secure funding from Zuma, despite a contract stipulating incremental payments for the R2.4-million development.

Prakash Soni Amrathlall, owner of the exclusive Casanova Boutique in Durban. He is expected to testify that Shaik paid Zuma's clothing bills. Casanova has a number of VIP clients.

Craig Venter, chief executive of the Altech group. Expected to unravel the changing ownership of a company *1 ­ African Defence Systems (ADS) ­ linked to Shaik, which won a lucrative contract *2 to supply combat suites aboard four navy corvettes under the arms deal.

Businessman Richard Young, whose company CCII Systems lost out in supplying weapons technology for the corvette combat suite after having been stipulated by the SA Navy as a nominated supplier. Thomson-CSF Detexis, a sister company of Thint (Pty) Ltd and ADS, landed the deal after ADS doubled CCII Systems's price.

A Former Judge, Nelson Mandela's Former Attorney and Military Men

Judge Willem Heath, who headed a special unit which was excluded ­ by President Thabo Mbeki ­ from being part of the multi-agency investigation into the arms deal.

Ismail Ayob, Nelson Mandela's former attorney ­ believed to be able to shed light on Shaik "misrepresenting" the ANC in foreign business deals.

Robert Simpson-Anderson, former chief of the SA Navy.

Jonathan Kamerman, former navy corvette project director and Frits Nortjé, Armscor corvette programme manager ­ expected to be key to unravelling how the corvette combat suite deal unfolded *3.

Hired Help

Ella Govender, household manager in the Presidency at Groote Schuur, received regular payments from Shaik's companies of between R2000 and R7000 from December 2002 to May 2005 for housekeeping while Zuma w as deputy president. These services included paying his car licence fees and traffic fines.

With acknowledgements to Andre Jurgens, Yasantha Naidoo and The Times.

*1       Altech sold ADS to Thomson in two tranches in 1998 (for around R16 million) and in 1999 (for about R18 million) making say R34 million ion total.

*2      This for a company that was designated in May 1998 to get a contract worth R412 million while its parent company Thomson-CSF got a further R600 million.

To put this in proper perspective,
ADS's Total Equities and Liabilities figure for its financial year ending 31st December 2000 was R408 million - up from just R42 million the previous year.

ADS was also able to make a declared nett profit after tax of nearly R9 million in 2000 and take advantage of a R5 million nett loss in 1999. Thomson-CSF was also able to take some nice management fees out of ADS.

In effect, Thomson-CSF/Nkobi/FBS were able to pay for their purchase of ADS in just a year or two (okay, in reality Thomson-CSF did the buying and paying while FBS and Nkobi brought along the political capital).

It remains unexplained and inexplicable why ADS should have been sold in the first place and why for so little.

Me thinks that there were other major factors at work.

*3      If truth be told this will be more interesting than Days of Our Lives, especially how on 26 March 1999 it was reported by the SA Navy Project Officer and Armscor Programme Manager to the Naval Board and on 24 April 1999 to the Project Control Board that :

Yet just a few weeks later the combat suite price was finalised as R2,599 billion (just R299 million higher than the price already negotiated and R699 million higher than the adjusted ceiling budget) and the total programme cost at R6,873 billion (just R783 million that already negotiated and R872 million higher than the cabinet approved price).

Me thinks that the extra R300 million or more went to lining the pockets of some among us.

The German Prosecutors have already formally alleged that Thyssen paid some R150 million to get the corvette contract and me thinks (and all the circumstances documentary evidence suggests) that Thomson-CSF paid a similar order of magnitude of wonga to both get its R1 billion plus share, but equally importantly that this was done without any competition whatsoever - despite the German Frigate Consortium (including Thyssen) being specially instructed by Armscor in early 1999 to get alternative bids for the combat suite - but this, of course, never happened.