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Senzeni Zokwana denies corruption claim

Senzeni Zokwana.
Senzeni Zokwana.
Image: VELI NHLAPO/Sowetan

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana has told SACP leaders he cancelled the Willjarro (Pty) Ltd tender for the processing, marketing and selling of confiscated abalone to prevent corruption.

The City Press reported at the weekend that the Hawks were probing former president Jacob Zuma for allegedly accepting a R1-million cash bribe from a Western Cape abalone dealer, Deon Larry, in exchange for keeping Zokwana in his cabinet.

According to the newspaper, an affidavit deposed at the Lyttelton police station in Centurion in December by businessman Chaile Seretse alleged that Zokwana, Cosatu president S'dumo Dlamini and agriculture department deputy director-general Siphokazi Ndudane each received a R30 000 bribe from the same businessman.

Zokwana is also chairman of the SACP, which has been vocal about corruption and state capture allegations.

Zokwana yesterday denied involvement in any unlawful conduct in relation to the awarding of contracts for the processing and sale of confiscated abalone or plans to raise money for the ANC through the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

He said he welcomed the investigation by the directorate for priority crime investigations into all the allegations against him and was confident the investigation would establish his innocence.

"Investigations into the employees of the department who appear to be implicated in the awarding of the unlawful contract were still ongoing," Zokwana said.

Last year, the Western Cape High Court ordered the contract concluded between the department and Willjarro for the processing, marketing and selling of confiscated abalone was unlawful and should be set aside.

Seretse is the chief operating officer of Willjarro.

SACP national spokesman Alex Mashilo said the party was satisfied with the explanation that Zokwana had given.

"Zokwana must be congratulated for cancelling the tender," Mashilo said.

"We welcome the fact that the Hawks are investigating."

However, Mashilo said if Zokwana was found to be guilty the party would take decisive action in line with the party's rule of discipline.

"We will not beat around the bush," he said.

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