Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu has reportedly defended appointing a special adviser to her office in spite of questions being asked about a multimillion-rand contract awarded to a company he partly owns, saying “not everything that is black is corrupt”.
Fin24 reported on Wednesday that Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Toby Chance had asked Zulu in a parliamentary follow-up question about the appointment of Thami Mazwai as her special adviser despite him owning 40% shares in Mtiya Dynamics, a company that received a contract worth R22 085 million to manage the department’s National Gazelles Programme.
The programme is aimed towards stimulating the growth of small businesses and a new generation of local entrepreneurs.
Fin24 also reported that Zulu said Mazwai had agreed to dispose his shares upon his appointment as her special adviser.
“He acknowledged that there would be a conflict of interest, and we agreed that he’d get rid of the shares. He is in the process of finalising it,” she said.
Zulu said the structure of South Africa’s economy was still “an apartheid one”, making it impossible for small business-owners to participate in the value chain of the economy.
“That’s why I decided Mr Mazwai would be the right person for the job. And I take exception that every time we [the government] are doing our best you regard us as corrupt,” she said, adding: “Everything that’s black isn’t corrupt.”