South African minister charged with corruption amid coalition talks

Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa arrested and charged of taking bribes as his ANC party struggles to form a government.

Zizi Kodwa
South Africa's Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa appeared before a court on corruption charges [File: Wikus De Wet/AFP]

South Africa’s outgoing sports, arts and culture minister has appeared in court after being arrested over bribery allegations as his African National Congress (ANC) party meets for coalition government talks after an election deadlock.

Zizi Kodwa, who was formally charged with taking bribes, appeared in a courtroom south of Johannesburg on Wednesday, alongside co-accused Jehan Mackay.

Kodwa was granted bail during the hearing, the country’s elite police unit Hawks said in a statement. His lawyer said Kodwa would not evade trial and would disclose his defence at a later stage, footage by public broadcaster SABC showed.

News website News24 reported that Kodwa was held on accusations of taking 1.6 million rand ($85,000) in bribes in connection with contracts handed by the city of Johannesburg to upgrade and maintain the metro’s software systems. News24 reported that Kodwa intended to plead not guilty to the charges.

He was implicated in taking bribes from a businessman at a judicial inquiry in 2021 that looked into allegations of widespread government corruption involving ANC officials and others.

The allegations relate to the time when Kodwa was the national spokesperson for the ANC and later the deputy minister of state security.

Police allege that Kodwa used some of the bribe money to buy a “luxury” SUV vehicle.

Coalition talks

The 54-year-old is a member of the ANC’s internal National Working Committee, which met on Tuesday as the party discusses how it might form a government after losing its 30-year majority in an election last week.

The ANC has not given any indication of which other party or parties it might strike an agreement with to co-govern and talks are ongoing.

Government corruption was seen as one of the issues that prompted a majority of South Africans to turn away from the ANC in the election.

It received 40 percent of the vote, losing its parliamentary majority for the first time, and now needs to form a coalition or agreement with others.

Source: News Agencies