Ezulweni Investments Linked to Tenders Proving Concerns of R102m Settlement in the Wake of Lavish January 8 Statement

ActionSA has discovered a link between Ezulweni Investments and state contracts which serves to prove the reasonable fear that South Africans may find themselves paying for this settlement.

The discovery comes at a time in which ActionSA awaits confirmation from the ANC Treasurer-General, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, as to whether she will implement the offer of President Ramaphosa to avail the documents in the interests of transparency.

The revelation of this connection to state contracts has been revealed in a tender awarded by the Newcastle Local Municipality to Gladmod Transport and Shories Project 47 which lists Mr Renash Ramdas as its sole Director according to the CIPC. This is the same Ramesh Ramdas who is listed as the CEO of Ezulweni Investments in the court papers against the ANC and who is believed to be married to the sole Director of Ezulweni Investments – Ms Ashnee Ramdas.

The tender itself was for the amount of R200 000 issued on 27 October 2021 for the provision events services for an Imbizo for the Mayor of Newcastle Municipality days before the 2021 local government elections. The reality is that no central repository exists for tenders across all spheres, departments and entities government in South Africa that would allow for a deeper assessment of how business interests connected to the Ramdas family may have benefitted more substantially from state contracts.

What is important from this discovery is the fact that the key players behind Ezulweni Investments are registered suppliers to the state and beneficiaries of state contracts, undoubtedly of more than just this example in Newcastle. Of further interest is that this tender was awarded in October 2021 as a time in which the ANC’s debt would have been accruing legal costs and interest for nearly 3 years.

It follows that the nature of the debt settlement agreement between the ANC and Ezulweni Investments represents a reasonable and rational concern that part or whole of the debt may be paid through future business conducted between the state and the Ramdas family. This matter can no longer be purported to be a private matter between the ANC and its creditor, but now directly involves all South Africans.

It is worth noting that in December last year, when the debt settlement was announced, the liquidation processes had determined that the ANC held less than R60 000 in its collective bank accounts. This is a party that has struggled for donors to come forward publicly and a party that could not pay the salaries of its employees for many months in 2023. There can be no question that the sudden announcement of a solution, coupled with an extravagant January 8 statement in Mbombela, raises some serious questions about where these funds are coming from.

It is vital that the details of donors who have funded this settlement be published so that it can be determined if any of them are beneficiaries of state tenders.

If the evidence of the connection between Ezulweni Investments and state contracts can be detected on a simple desktop research exercise, it is clear that we are only beginning to scratch the surface of a debt settlement that may be predicated on South Africans settling this debt.

ActionSA will fight for transparency in this matter even if it requires the party to approach the courts to compel the transparency that the Constitutional Court found South Africans have a right to in their informed choices of a political party.