/Deputy finance minister responds to ANC integrity body, defends actions in alleged extortion case | News24

Deputy finance minister responds to ANC integrity body, defends actions in alleged extortion case | News24

Deputy Finance Minister Dr David Masondo has been asked by the ANC integrity committee to step down.

Deputy Finance Minister Dr David Masondo has been asked by the ANC integrity committee to step down.

Gallo Images/Felix Dlangamandla

  • Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo says he has done nothing wrong in reporting an alleged crime implicating a former lover.
  • Earlier this week, the ANC’s Integrity Committee suggested Masondo step down for bringing the organisation into disrepute.
  • Masondo says he reported the crime based on the counsel of his lawyer, in his personal capacity and in light of the public office he holds.

Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo has responded to calls by the ANC’s Integrity Committee for him to step down, saying he has done nothing wrong.

The committee’s chairperson, George Mashamba, wrote to Masondo on 18 July, asking him to voluntarily step down from his position given accusations made against him that he had used his influence as deputy minister to set the Hawks on a former lover. The committee claimed Masondo’s actions brought disrepute to the organisation.

Last year, AmaBhungane reported Masondo had used his influence and state resources to settle a personal score with a former lover by having her arrested for extortion.

News24 also revealed how the woman was arrested in a sting operation in August last year.

READ | Woman arrested then freed after deputy finance minister lays R300 000 bribery complaint

WhatsApp messages between him and the 30-year-old woman, who asked not to be named, suggested it was Masondo, 44, who had first offered money because he “wanted peace” and the fighting between them to stop. He was accused of bullying the woman into having an abortion and her wanting the two families to discuss damages.

After tipping off the Hawks, the woman was arrested outside her home in northern Johannesburg on 17 August when she accepted a bag of cash from men she understood were representing Masondo, but were actually undercover cops, AmaBhungane reported. 

Mashamba said this was poor judgement, saying the demands placed on Masondo did not fall within the mandate of the Hawks.

In a written response to the committee on Friday, which News24 has seen, Masondo said he reported what he regarded as a criminal act of extortion, harassment and death threats to the police.

He adds that he notes the Commission seems to regard the incident “as a domestic matter”.

Masondo also writes that he “acknowledges” that he “reported the matter to a wrong section of the police – Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (also colloquially known as the Hawks), which according to the Integrity Commission does not deal with extortion”.

“It was not an easy decision for me to report the matter to the police, but acted on the advice of my lawyer that the Hawks is the legally appropriate institution responsible for crimes such as extortion.”

Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo

Masondo adds that his lawyer advised him to report the crime in both his personal capacity, and due to his position as a government official.

He further states his lawyer “advised that, as a public official, I also have more responsibility as I am enjoined by Section 34(1) of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act12 of 2004 (the Act) to report such a crime to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation(DPCI) if I bear knowledge of its committal and the perpetrator(s) thereof”. 

Masondo also writes that he “was taken aback” when requested to appear before the ANC Integrity Commission in June, as he had been “advised by the Commission Chairperson around November 2019 that the ANC Integrity Commission had discussed the matter and agreed that there was nothing wrong in me reporting a crime”.

The deputy minister sent his letter to the committee along with the following:

  • the legal advice that informed his reporting to the police;
  • his submission to the Public Protector following the allegation by the Democratic Alliance that he abused his power for reporting the crime to the Hawks;
  • his written submission he sent to the Integrity Commission via email;
  • as well as WhatsApp messages that he claims corroborate the harassment and torment his family faced.
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