Zuma fires conman

2011-02-06 12:14

 Johannesburg - A serial fraudster, who spent 18 months in jail for conning his way into top government and private sector jobs, has emerged as a key figure in an R800m Chinese development project in President Jacob Zuma’s hometown of Nkandla.

But Jabu Ivan Maswanganye and his consulting firm were fired from the project on Friday night after City Press alerted Zuma’s office to the conman’s tactics.

The ambitious project, which forms part of a larger R6bn investment plan by Chinese investors, will see the construction of a shopping mall and residential and business facilities in the rural village with a population of 130 000 and 25 000 households.

It is the latest in a range of projects coming to Nkandla after Zuma was elected ANC president in December 2007.

A City Press investigation has uncovered that:

- Maswanganye, one of the Nkandla project’s local partners, was fired by the Mpumalanga provincial government in 2000 for falsifying his university ­degrees and matric certificate;

- He was jailed for fraud; and

- Maswanganye was present in Nkandla over Christmas when Zuma announced the project.

Maswanganye, whose consulting firm Linkfinn was a local partner of the Chinese investors, attempted to convince City Press this week he was the “identical twin brother” of Ivan Maswanganye, the fraudster.

According to him, “Ivan” was now living in Ireland. “My brother and I parted ways after a long and very dirty battle that ended up in court. I am now used to this. I will always carry my brother’s shadow,” said Maswanganye, who goes by the name “Jabu”.

But his version was disputed by three independent sources and documentary ­evidence.

Jabu Ivan Maswanganye, born in 1968, is registered as a director of Linkfinn with the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro). According to “Jabu”, this is his brother and they share the name “Jabu”.

When asked for his identity number, “Jabu” gave one that indicates he was born in 1971. Asked how they could be identical twins if they were born three years apart, Maswanganye changed his story and said: “We look very alike, but we are not twins. I didn’t mean twins in that way.”

Maswanganye claimed his full names were Jabu Theo Bongi Maswanganye, but the 1971 ID number is registered as that of Theopilis Sibosiso Maswanganye.

The cellphone number Maswanganye used to communicate with City Press is registered in the name of Jabu Ivan Maswanganye, using the same 1968 ID number of Jabu Ivan Maswanganye, the Linkfinn director.

Three independent sources told City Press they had heard the story about Maswanganye’s alleged “twin”, but had never met the man. One flatly denied Maswanganye had a brother, and a former business partner of Maswanganye laughed aloud when City Press asked him about a “twin”.

The project that was announced by Zuma in Nkandla over Christmas is bankrolled by the Shanghai Property Fund, which secures land in South Africa on behalf of major Chinese investors. According to Maswanganye, the fund is acting on behalf of the Calibra Motor Corporation, which was in the process of building a major motor manufacturing plant at Richards Bay and expects the Nkandla project – about 120km away – to provide accommodation for staff at the plant.

The project’s local partners are the Masibambisane Rural Development Project, chaired by Zuma and, until Friday night, Linkfinn. Construction will be carried out by the Siyakhula consortium, which is sourcing land and doing construction work on behalf of the Chinese.

The project is one of several planned by Siyakhula, whose chief financial officer, Zain Ballee, said on Friday other developments were planned for George, Harrismith and Mpumalanga. Ballee said Linkfinn had been retained to do feasibility studies. He said he had never met Maswanganye, but had spoken to him on the phone.

Mereki Elias Mosia, Maswanganye’s co-director in Linkfinn, said he was told his partner had a twin brother, but he had never seen them together.

Asked how his “brother” could be a director after being convicted of fraud, Maswanganye said: “He has gone to jail for one year and six months, and should not be sentenced again 11 years later.”

Yesterday, after City Press told Zuma’s office all evidence points to Maswanganye ­being the same man that was fired by Mpumalanga and jailed for fraud, Mzobe said on behalf of the Masibambisane project that they had met with Siyakhula and decided to dismiss Linkfinn from the project.

- City Press

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  • Matubeng - 2011-02-06 13:43

    What difference does it make? You still have Yengeni, Manyi and other recycled flops in your government. President, you're failing the black people of SA. We have plenty of skilled people but you associate with people of dubious character.

  • Geyser - 2011-02-06 13:50

    Nearly every deal BEE or otherwise that has been made since 1994 is a fraud. The entire government is a fraud. Even the very first "democratic" elections were a fraud. FIFA world cup was a fraud, the home affairs is a fraud. So it is not surprising that nearly everyday some fraud is uncovered.

  • Charlie - 2011-02-06 14:02

    O i'm really going to smile when the chinese really get there nails into this country and watch how this government try slow them down or try get rid of them, idiots!

  • Mlungisi Khinzela - 2011-02-06 15:12

    If you are a crook all your friends are crooks, wat now Msholozi speakout

  • ian - 2011-02-06 15:58

    so whats new . just another conman in the ranks of the ANC. nothng newsworthyt here.....

  • On the run - 2011-02-06 16:37

    Another one bites the dust

  • Whitespear - 2011-02-06 16:51

    The chief fraudster fired the wannabe fraudster because he doesnt want competition.

  • Bonzo - 2011-02-06 17:19

    Eish! Poor old Zoomer hasn't a clue how to handle anything, not even the lining of his own Nkandla nest. And I thought, too, that the ANC was making noises about foreign ownership of land in South Africa. 'In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasuredome decree'

  • croix - 2011-02-06 17:52


  • Wayne - 2011-02-06 19:10

    Thanks Matubeng! But i do disagree with you.. He's failing everyone. These comment sections always turn into a race fight or a DAvsANC fight. Personally i don't care if my President is neon green.. We as taxpayers pay his salary and therefor he has a responsibility towards us. He should stop playing the role of a celebrity and start taking on the responsibility as leader of an African country on the verge of becoming an African success or just another failure.. Zuma is NOT a King.. He is a man voted in, entrusted and paid to do a job. At the moment he is not doing that job. The fact that the media's background check on Jabu was more comprehensive than that of the Presidents resources shows that it was another "buddy deal"...

  • PROJECT DIRECTOR - 2011-02-06 19:10

    Wonder if M+R, G-5,WBHO et-al are colluding to get this contract now........

  • hugh - 2011-02-06 19:28

    Residential and business center for 25,000 well I never. It boggles the mind that the Chinese can be so stupid. Nothwithstanding even Mandela and Mebhki did not have the cheek to garner support by building in their home towns.

  • GT - 2011-02-06 20:48

    Matubeng - the all must have dirt on each other.

  • Ldn saffa - 2011-02-06 21:26

    well it appears that Jabu Ivan Maswanganye has all the right credentials to go far with the ANC (a politician in the making) so why was he fired you may ask? One can only assume that JZ feels threatend by someone that could be viewed as serious competition in the future.

  • Anne - 2011-02-06 21:31

    @Charlie - I agree with you about the Chinese getting their nails into this country. However, I won't be smiling because it will affect everyone - including you and me.

  • benzo - 2011-02-06 22:04

    It seems easier to get rid of ants in your kitchen or locusts in your vineyard than getting rid of those pests in our society. Can anyone develop a DOOM spray for crooks at the risk that the none of the government officials will survive the spray.

  • JZ - 2011-02-07 00:16

    Be happy. At last Zuma did something that he is paid to do. I assume he is realy pissed about the project. He was promised running water for his shower, and where will all his own cresh/children play now that they posioned the Gauteng water and it is unsafe for them to play here?

  • @Matubeng - 2011-02-07 01:22

    That will be because the President and the party he leads are of dubious character, and by implication people who keep on voting for them regardless of having this knowledge are too. People who keep on voting for them are failing not only the black people of SA, but SA as a whole.

  • VidoPro - 2011-02-07 05:57

    They should have left him to work with the Chinese. If he was double crossing everyone else, you would think he would have also double crossed the Chinese somewhere along the way. While locals may send him to jail, the Chinese will either chop off his head or give him a silver bullet, after which they will send his family the bill for the silver bullet.

  • Pleb - 2011-02-07 06:00

    What do you expect ?

  • Wizard of Oz - 2011-02-07 06:44

    @ Matubeng - what a breath of fresh air .... I just wish there were enough of your kind to overturn the corrupt ANC government with your vote next time round. The ANC have not only failed the blacks that support them, they have failed the whole population by appointing useless political figures in jobs that are destroying the infrastructure of the country bit by bit

  • Craig - 2011-02-07 06:49

    What is really scary....Is just how this ANC selling SA...., the Chinese !! The bunch of half-baked incompetents in the ANC government...with ,'His finger-on-the-pulse-Mr Zoooooooomer (joke) at the helm..are being 'played like a big fish', by the Chinese...and our ANC boyties are so 'switched off'..they dont even know it !! All our ANC govt ministers say is,"Show me the moneeeeeeeee"....then happily gobble ,hook ,line and sinker.. the Chinese bait!!" And the rest is history!!

  • GT - 2011-02-07 07:07

    @ Matubeng, now the question to ask is: why is that? Why are the current ANC top brass so stuck on colluding with only a handful of fellow corrupt fraudsters? The rot starts at the top, and it's time the people work hard to put a stop to it. Vote!

  • splasher - 2011-02-07 08:10

    Credit where credit is due.

  • Sartre - 2011-02-07 09:39

    Isn't it rather strange that accommodation for a car manufacturing plant in Richards Bay, is provided for 120km away!!! Do we have to bend down in such a concorted way to please Zuma? What's wrong with our thinking?

  • Pangaman - 2011-02-07 10:01

    Stupidity and ignorance knows no bounds for people like Matybeng and others. In which govt sector is Yengeni working? What crime has Manyi been convicted of? If Maswanganye is a fraudster and conned his way into projects through a business venture, so what? The man has been found out and President Zuma did the right thing. Obviously there are people dealing with these projects and Zuma is not supposed to know each and every person in this country. Stop being stupid.

  • DeonL - 2011-02-07 10:24

    It seems no one in Gov. does backround checks anymore when they do business with private firms? Or do you just need an ANC member card? We should all get one, still vote differently.

  • reader4444 - 2011-02-07 11:20

    Where next will this dude pop up? The ANC recycles fruadsters (otherwise called comrades)at an alarming rate. The bigger the f***k up, the bigger the promotion up the ranks of nepotism. Just look where Zuma is.

  • Johnathan - 2011-02-07 11:24

    LOL!! The guy's lies are really funny. "We are twins, but we share the same name and we were born 3 years apart..." Good work, City Press. If the government is too lazy to properly investigate the people they deal with, it's up you people like you to do it! If the guy had been an ANC-official, it would have been a different story, I suspect...

  • LC - 2011-02-07 12:59

    Can just hear Zuma's words: "This town aint big enough for both of us....."

  • IandI - 2011-02-07 13:56

    Unbelievable. For a second I thought JZ fired himself..LOL

  • Percy - 2011-02-07 15:08

    I have lysdexia and I had initially read, 'Zuma cons fireman."

  • Sipho - 2011-02-07 15:43

    Isn't the bigger story here that Zuma is using our taxpayer money to develop his rural hometown?

  • Willie - 2011-02-07 16:31

    120 km from Richardsbay ? I am from that area and let me tell you it takes about 1.5 hours just to drive 75 KM on that raod. they have been working on upgrading the road to Nkandla for ages but it gets nowhere.Driving from Eshowe to R/bay can take up to 1.5 hrs in traffic, the R/bay Empangeni road has been a mess for over 20 years and still not completed.lets not talk about the bad weather and misty conditions driving from Nkandla to Eshowe or Melmoth-- China you better add 5-6 hours a day to your project for traveling time to and from work!!

  • Bob - 2011-02-07 17:09

    But Malema is really a nice guy. Look at the nice car he drives, the nice sushi parties he goes to and the nice clothes he wears. Pity about his Woodwork marks no being so nice. See you at the next "I stole more money from the taxpayer than you" shindig. With the country in lelection mode there should be a lot of those coming up.

  • cvdm - 2011-02-07 21:08

    ! Bad Timing ... Register a new company quickly.

  • IBI - 2011-02-08 04:37

    Come on guys! Zuma knew about his past; ANC was just caught out; they will now play the "angazi" role.

  • rem - 2011-02-10 08:01

    That's what happens when we have suspects running our country, they bring more of there suspects stealing money from the poor and very soon there is going to be nobody left.....

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