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Tony Sithembiso Yengeni (born 11 October 1954) is a South African politician. He was an anti-Apartheid activist and joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1976 and later its armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe. He has served as member of the South African parliament for the ruling ANC (including as Chief Whip). In 2003, he was found guilty of fraud in a case linked to the corruption investigation into the former South African vice-president, Jacob Zuma.

Contents

Struggle era

Yengeni was born in Cape Town and grew up in the townships Gugulethu and Nyanga. After completing his matric (South African high-school diploma) in Fort Beaufort, he left the country in temporary voluntary exile as member of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). During this time he underwent military training in Angola and other African countries. While stationed in Lesotho he befriended the former MK chief Chris Hani. After one year in Lesotho he was sent to Botswana from where he went to the Soviet Union to study political science in Moscow (diploma in 1982).[1] In 1984 he married fellow ANC member Lumka Nyamza, in Lusaka, Zambia.

Return to South Africa

In 1986, he returned to South Africa and was appointed as MK leader in the Western Cape. In 1987, he was arrested, and his trial charges of terrorism began in 1989. The case against Yengeni and 13 other accused dragged on for 269 days and apparently cost the state around R5m (about $2m at the time). During his detention he was tortured by Jeffrey Benzien — an event which Benzien later re-enacted before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission while Yengeni watched, and where Benzien received amnesty.[2] Soon after then president FW de Klerk unbanned the ANC in 1990, eight of Yengeni's co-accused were acquitted. Yengeni and the other five were released a year later but remained on trial for a number of months thereafter.

ANC Government

Yengeni was Chief Whip for the ANC in the Parliament of South Africa.

He was elected to the ANC's 80-member National Executive Committee in December 2007 in 21st place, with 2,032 votes.[3]

Zuma case

Yengeni was arrested in October 2001 and released on bail of R10 000 during an investigation by then National Director of Public Prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, into allegations of misuse of power against Yengeni and Jacob Zuma. An order for the arrest of Michael Woerfel of EADS, who had been suspended in July 1999 because of his involvement in the matter, was also issued. According to the Sunday Times, EADS admitted that the company "helped" approximately 30 South African officials to obtain luxury vehicles. Yengeni placed full-page advertisements in all Sunday papers (except the Sunday Times) proclaiming his innocence. This was estimated to have cost the chief whip R250,000. [1] In 2004, Yengeni was convicted of defrauding parliament by accepting a discount on a luxury car during the tendering process for a controversial arms deal while he was the member of a parliamentary committee reporting on the same deal. The case against Michael Woerfel was withdrawn since Yengeni was found not guilty on the charges involving Woerfel. Yengeni entered Pollsmoor Prison near Cape Town on 24 August 2006, was immediately transferred to more modern Malmesbury prison, but was released on parole on 15 January 2007 — after completing a mere five months of the four-year sentence.

Drunk driving case

In November 2007 he was arrested for drunk driving in Goodwood, Cape Town.[4] The case could not proceed because the blood sample was unfit to be taken for chemical analysis. This was because former Goodwood station commander, Siphiwo Hewana, allegedly gave an unknown person access to the blood sample. [5]

Hewana was dismissed and put on trial for an attempt to defeat the ends of justice, incitement to commit perjury and interfering with the Yengeni investigation. Constable Charles Japhta alleged that Hewana told him he had instructions from Western Cape provincial police commissioner Mzwandile Petros [6] to change statements on the docket relating to the time that Yengeni had been arrested. Hewana also said Yengeni's parole conditions had banned him from being out on the streets after 10pm, nor was he permitted to consume liquor, whereas Yengeni had been pulled off the road about midnight. [7] [8] On 30 Nov 2009 Hewana was found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice, but not guilty on conspiracy to commit perjury and interfering with police officials in the execution of their duties.[9]

References

  1. ^ a b Dempster, Carolyn (2001-10-03). "The rise and fall of Tony Yengeni". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1577682.stm.  
  2. ^ "Jeffrey Benzien granted amnesty". Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 1999-02-18. http://www.info.gov.za/speeches/1999/99218_0bb09999_10159.htm.  
  3. ^ Brendan Boyle, "Winnie Mandela tops ANC election list", The Times (South Africa), December 21, 2007.
  4. ^ Werner Swart and Anton Ferreira "Yengeni may go back to prison", The Times (South Africa), November 27, 2007
  5. ^ Yengeni drunk-driving charges dropped The Times
  6. ^ Commissioner gave order on Yengeni, says cop M&G
  7. ^ 'I was asked to change Yengeni docket' IOL
  8. ^ Yengeni docket confused me: cop IOL
  9. ^ Yengeni cop found guilty IOL

External links

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