Saturday, July 11, 2020

Former South African president linked to Masisi’s ouster bid

BY EDGAR TSIMANE

Former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) President Joseph Montisetsi are among a group of influential South African wheeler-dealers believed to be backing former President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s bid to oust President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Khama’s chief sponsor and South African business magnate, Bridgette Radebe facilitated a meeting between Khama and Motlanthe recently where plans to topple Masisi are believed to have been discussed. Motlanthe later met Montisetsi in a separate meeting believed to be part of the plot to oust Masisi.

Responding to a Sunday Standardquestionnaire, Motlanthe confirmed meeting Khama and Montisetsi but would not divulge the purpose of the meeting. He however denied reports that Khama was in the company of Bridgette Radebe’s sidekick Malcolm X.

“Former President of Botswana, Ian Khama, paid a courtesy call to me at the [Kgalema Motlanthe] Foundation offices alone as an old colleague. I do not know a Mr. Malcom X. As the past General Secretary to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), I stay in regular contact with both past and present leadership of NUM. I recently gave a lecture paying tribute to the late comrade Elijah Barayi, Former NUM Vice President. I afforded a meeting to NUM President Mr. Joseph Montisetsi alone at the Foundation offices” Motlanthe told the Sunday Standard through his media handler Lindsay McDonald.

Motlanthe claim that he had no knowledge of who made logistical arrangements and provided security escort for Khama to visit him a little over two weeks ago. “Former President of Botswana, Ian Khama, paid a courtesy call to me at the Foundation offices. I have no knowledge of any transport arrangements”, he said.

Asked if he supported the alleged protagonists behind Khama’s bid to oust Masisi, South Africa’s former president said, “I cannot speak on anyone’s behalf ÔÇô I have no knowledge and the answer is no.”

Montisetsi also alleged to be behind the campaign to remove President Masisi made headlines a while ago following reports that he was captured by the Gupta family. A NUM high ranking official revealed that Montisetsi’s campaign for the NUM presidency was financed through part of an R 1, 5 million donation from[http://gupta%20coal%20mine%20could%20face%20liquidation/]the Gupta-owned Oakbay Resources.

NUM Secretary General David Sipunzi admitted that his 2012 campaign for office was funded by a Gupta mining company. Sipunzi however revealed that it wasn’t him that received support from the Gupta family, “The person who was directly alleged to have received this assistance from Shiva, was the then Regional Secretary of Matlosana who was contesting the position of the President in 2012, his name is Joseph Montisetsi.”

Curiously the Guptas secured backing from Montisetsi and Sipunzi’s led NUM in acquiring the controversial Optimum Coal Mine in Mpumalanga.

Topping the list of South African influential figures believed to be backing Khama includes Bridgette Motsepe Radebe, wife to South Africa’s cabinet minister Jeff Radebe and Managing Director of Mmakau mining. Also in the list are two of South Africa’s military industrial and mining complex wheeler-dealers Paul Langa and Lazarus Mbethe who are directors in Avante Security Services Botswana, the company suspected of helping Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe to launder money for Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s presidential campaign.

Mbethe and Langa were both named in a 2013 scandal in which South African military involvement in the Central African Republic was exposed as a front for ANC-linked deals.

According to the Mail & Guardian, Mbethe and Langa were directors in a company called Baga┬¡moyo which was set up to exploit opportunities in the Central African Republic (CAR).

The pair was in partnership with former South African spy chief Billy Masetlha and connected businessperson and fixer Didier Pereira who was special adviser to former CAR president, Fran├ºois Boziz├®.  The team initiated several business projects in the Central African Republic some involving diamonds.

The Mail& Guardian further revealed that Langa, Mbethe, Masetlha, and Pereira, appear as directors in two other shelf companies, Evening Star Trading 665 and Universal Pulse Trading 117, both set up in November 2006.

Their business dealings in the Central African Republic (CAR) bombed into a big scandal after a number of South African peace keeping soldiers were killed during the CAR operation.

Avante Security bank accounts in Botswana were earlier this month frozen on suspicion that the security company was being used to launder Motsepe-Radebe’s money for Venson-Moitoi’s campaign.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.