Baleka Mbete the former speaker of Parliament has admitted to the State Capture Commission that she had received a tip from a whistleblower about the arms deal, which is now before the courts, but completely ignored it.
Mbete appeared before the commission on Tuesday, 18 May 2021, to give evidence related to Parliamentary oversight, particularly during her tenure.
According to Mbete, an anonymous whistleblower slid a report under her door, detailing the arms deal, which would later turn out to have credence.
Instead of following up on the allegations, she disregarded it, claiming Parliament was far too busy to entertain them.
“I want to tell you, chairperson of an occasion when I was deputy speaker. The speaker was away and I was acting speaker. A document was slid under my door.
As it turned out, when I read if it was about the famous arms deal. That document had no signature. It had no author,” Mbete told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the commission’s chairperson.
“I am saying if another opportunity like that happened, I would still decide [the same]. I will not take a document that is a lot of rumour, drama and very concerning. But why is there no author? The person who slid it under my door must come and then I will act on it,” she said.
Let’s jog your memory: Former president Jacob Zuma is alleged to have received 783 suspicious payments to the tune of R1.2 million from French arms manufacturer Thales, as part of the multi-billion rand arms deal.
The payments were allegedly made through his disgraced former financial advisor Shabir Shaik. They’re alleged to be bribes, in exchange for protecting Thales from an investigation into how it scored the contract.
Zuma is currently on trial for the matter and faces 16 charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering, and money-laundering.