Mzilikazi wa Afrika denies taking R500k bribe from Eskom boss

The paper that the journalist works for said attempts were made by suspended Eskom boss Matshela Koko to ask him to drop a story with a R500k bribe.

Prominent South African journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika has denied being part of the people who took money flowing from Eskom corruption, saying the only incident he knows of is when suspended Eskom CEO Matshela Koko offered to take care of his needs with R500 000.

Wa Afrika’s name is amongst those of Eskom bosses Abram Masango and Peter Sebola as well as that of ANCYL leader Collen Maine who are mentioned in an affidavit by a former bodyguard of Eskom contracts manager France Hlakudi.

The affidavit says Hlakudi sent his bodyguard, Ntokozo Dubazana, to give bags of money to Masango, Sebola, Maine as well as the Sunday Times journalist.

The document was expected to be handed to the Eskom disciplinary committee where Eskom CEO Matshela Koko is appearing for misconduct a week ago but has apparently not been submitted.

Suspended Eskom boss Matshela Koko

Koko was suspended earlier this year and is facing six charges before the disciplinary committee for not declaring a conflict of interest concerning contracts worth approximately R1-billion which were awarded to Impulse International‚ a company of which his step-daughter‚ Koketso Choma‚ was a director and shareholder.

Hlakudi on the other hand is accused of earning R20 million in bribes for his role in making sure a company called Tubular Construction Projects received a tender at the Kusile power station in Delmas when he controlled procurement there.

The affidavit states that early this year Wa Afrika was driving a navy Mercedes Benz when he met Dubazana at a filling station in Sandton and Dubazana, who was allegedly sent by Hlakudi to give the bag of money to Wa Afrika, says that the Merc that Wa Afrika was driving had a registration plate “Ngoma GP”.

Dubazana in the document says Wa Afrika gave him his key to the car so he could put the money in there.

But Hlakudi himself dismissed the “fanciful” allegations made by his ex-bodyguard, saying Dubazana was being used by Koko to discredit Wa Afrika and divert attention from the disciplinary processes currently underway against Koko.

The esteemed investigative journalist told his bosses at the Sunday Times that he had an incident where the company that Koko’s daughter had stakes in tried to offer him R500 000.

He said the company CEO, Pragasen Pather, promised Wa Afrika that if he accepted the R500 000 bribe on the day he would give him another the next, which would total to R1 million.

“It was after these efforts failed I was told he was being followed and that his life was under threat,” editor Bongani Siqoko said.

“After these efforts to throw Mzilikazi off the scent were thwarted, the next step is to try and discredit him through this affidavit,” he said.

Wa Afrika himself said: “I don’t know the incident this man is describing. I never met anyone at that place. I never gave my keys to anybody, it’s a security risk. No one has ever given me a bribe.

“As a matter of fact I refused a bag of money from Koko himself in the middle of the night. Why would I accept a bag of money in daylight?”

(edited by MLM)

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Journalist Sizwe Sama Yende to speak on his book

He will do a talk during an event organised by the Lowvelder newspaper.

City Press journalist Sizwe Sama Yende will speak this week on his newly published book.

He will be at Bica Coffee Shop in the Belladonna Centre, Mbombela on Thursday this week (25 May).

The event will start at 6 in the evening.

His book – Eerie Assignment – is a memoir detailing his experience as an investigative journalist probing the corruption of the Mpumalanga government officials under the leadership of Premier David Mabuza.

The event is a Lowvelder initiative called ‘Pen in My Hand’.

Same Yende was introduced to the media industry by influential investigative Sunday Times journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika in 1997.

RELATED: Journalist trained by Mzilikazi wa Afrika to release own book

Wa Afrika had gone to Daggakraal to cover late President Nelson Mandela who had come to visit the area.

He was still working for African Eye News Service and while he was enjoying Mandela’s speech, an 18-year-old boy kept following him and when Wa Afrika asked why he kept following him, the boy replied: ‘I want to be a journalist like you,’ Wa Afrika recalled the day on chapter 10 of his memoir Nothing Left to Steal.

Sama Yende told 013NEWS: “I was a scrawny 19-year-old teenager then with a burning desire to be journalist.

“I told him about my dreams and he agreed to support me. I started working then at African Eye News Service in Mbombela,” he said.

“Mzilikazi wa Afrika wrote a foreword for my book, which is, incidentally, an extension of his memoir – Nothing Left to Steal,” Sama Yende said.

Entry will cost R50 at the door and this includes a hearty meal.

To book a place, please phone the restaurant directly on 073 329 9238.

(edited by MLM)

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Journalist trained by Mzilikazi wa Afrika to release own book

He was only an 18-year-old boy who wished to work for media houses when he fell into the tender hands of the powerful Sunday Times journalist.

City Press journalist Sizwe Sama Yende is set to release his own book.

The tell-all memoir details an incident in August 2010 wherein Sama Yende escaped an attack by a gun-wielding hired assassin at his Mbombela home.

The book, called ‘Eerie Assignment’, will be in bookshelves by the end of May 2017.

Sama Yende has been a thorn in the back of politicians in hostile Mpumalanga, bravely exposing their shenanigans in the Media24-owned Sunday newspaper.

On the Friday night of 4 August 2010, Sama Yende had just arrived home when an armed man pounced on him after he had entered the gate.

He had been meeting sources for a story he was working on.

On the particular Friday night, after having opened the door and was about to close the sliding door, he saw the man walking hurriedly towards him. The man said (in a low voice) to Sama Yende: ‘stop what you’re doing, do not close the door’.

The man was carrying a gun however Sama Yende managed to close the door quickly and lift the handle to lock it. The man tried to open the door but fled when the alarm started ringing after Sama Yende had sprinted to activate it.

He says the book details this drama and the assignment he was writing before this occurred.

Sama Yende is a protégé of influential investigative South African journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika.

He is that ‘scrawny’ 18-year-old boy Wa Afrika met in Daggakraal while was working for African Eye News Service and had been covering the late President Nelson Mandela who had come to visit that area in 1997.

Journalist trained by Mzilikazi wa Afrika to release own book

Book cover, Eerie Assignment. Lesedi House

In chaper 10 of Nothing Left to Steal, Wa Afrika says of Sama Yende:

“To my surprise, the young man, full of shyness and speaking with his right hand on his mouth, said: ‘I want to be a journalist like you’. I spoke to the teenager for about 15 minutes and I realised that although he was 18 years old he had an extraordinary agility of mind and passion for journalism. He was a local Daggakraal boy”.

Three weeks later Wa Afrika introduced the young man to AENS boss Justin Arenstein who accepted the him on the condition that Wa Afrika was prepared to train and mentor him, which he agreed he would do and did.

Journalist trained by Mzilikazi wa Afrika to release own book

Sunday Times Investigative Journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika. PICTURE BY

Sama Yende since then worked for the African Eye News Service for 9 years, starting from that week in 1997.

In 2004, Sama Yende left AENS to go work for the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research but then returned to AENS in 2005 before becoming City Press’s Limpopo bureau chief in 2006.

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Sama Yende also had a stint with the Sekhukhune district municipality in Limpopo, working as a media officer, a position he held for three years until he returned to City Press, this time becoming its Mpumalanga bureau chief, a position he currently holds.

He told 013NEWS: “Eerie Assignment is a memoir centred on that incident”.

“In 2010 I was accosted by a gun-toting person one night, my car brakes were tempered with and was being constantly attacked verbally and on Facebook about my reporting.

“I however dealt with the politics of Mpumalanga and tried to make sense of why the environment has been hostile and toxic to all of us – politicians, journalists, civil servants, businesspeople and ordinary citizens,” he said.

“It is about the pain we have all gone through,” he added.

Mzilikazi wa Afrika contributed the foreword to Eerie Assignment  and in Sama Yende’s words; “it is incidentally an extension of his memoir – Nothing Left to Steal“.

(edited by ZK)

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