Lindsay Dentlinger12 May 2024 | 10:03

Bongani Bongo: 'I'm at peace. I want to lead a clean life'

Corruption-accused ANC MP, Bongani Bongo, says he wants to get justice after the SCA ordered a retrial against him.

Bongani Bongo: 'I'm at peace. I want to lead a clean life'

FILE: ANC MP Bongani Bongo in the Nelspruit Commercial Crimes Court on Monday, 8 November 2022. Picture: Nkosikhona Duma/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Once a rising star in ANC politics, and at the time, one of the youngest ministers in former president Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet, Bongani Bongo says he harbours no bitterness for the price he’s had to pay for facing two corruption trials over the last five years.

This week has been hit and miss in the courts for the former state security minister.

While on Monday the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ordered a retrial against him on charges that he allegedly attempted to bribe an evidence leader in a parliamentary inquiry in 2017, on Friday the Nelspruit Commercial Crimes Court discharged another corruption case against him, related to dodgy land deals when he worked in the Mpumalanga human settlements department. 

These corruption cases have hung over his head for the latter part of the ten years he’s been an MP. 

Despite initially digging in his heels, the cases eventually cost him the chair of Parliament’s Home Affairs committee, which he had to relinquish in 2021 after the ANC invoked its "step aside" policy against him. 

In the same year, the Western Cape High Court, however, discharged the corruption case against him, without him having to testify. 

Bongo had only presented his version of events in a written affidavit to the court. 

But speaking to Eyewitness News after attending the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)’s appeal in the SCA in Bloemfontein this week, Bongo said he was unmoved by the prospect of having the trial start afresh.

"Whatever they say, I'm prepared to go. I'm not afraid of anything. My conscience is clear. My mind is clear. My story's clear. So, I can tell the story whether I wake up at night or in the morning. The story is clear. I will still present the same story."

He won’t be making a return to Parliament after these elections, but Bongo said it did not mean he would not be politically active. 

A lawyer by profession, Bongo said he must get justice. 

"I’m not on the list of any party. I'm going to face this thing at home. It's me, my cases and my profession, not politics." 

With these cases dragging on for nearly five years, Bongo said it was important that he restored his name. 

"I have a good name. I'm a good guy.  I'm a good person. So, if somebody says something was wrong, we must go back and correct it. I'm not troubled about going back to hear what it's about."


On Friday, the NPA said it would appeal against the discharge decision in another case involving Bongo. 

He and seven co-accused were let off the hook by the Nelspruit Commercial Crimes Court after facing corruption and money laundering charges for false land sale transactions and personal benefits in Mpumalanga. 

The matter will now continue with nine other accused, which includes corporate entities.

Bongo said if the courts find the discharges granted in his favour in both matters to have been wrongly determined, it is not a reflection on him. 

"If they say the judge was wrong, it's not me. I mean I subjected myself to the process. If they appeal again and say Bongo must come back, I’ll come back."

In fact, Bongo said he was looking forward to telling his side of the story in the Western Cape High Court when the matter is re-enrolled. 

Hlophe had dismissed the NPA's appeal against the discharge in 2022. 

But Bongo doesn't think Hlophe's impeachment had any bearing on Monday's ruling of the SCA.

Bongo was sworn in as the state security minister by Hlophe at Tuynhuys in 2017. 

Earlier this year, Bongo toed the party line in voting for Hlophe's removal from the bench.

"These people are applying their minds and the law. It has no impact whatsoever. It's the application of the law. I want to follow the law. I'm a law-abiding citizen," said Bongo.


It's alleged that Bongo offered a former parliamentary legal advisor, Ntuthuzelo Vanara, "a blank cheque" to make an inquiry into state capture at Eskom "go away".

No prosecutions has ever followed from that inquiry, except for the allegations of bribery made against Bongo.  

Said Bongo: "The truth will always come out."

"I'm subjecting myself to the process. If the court says Bongo you must go to prison, I'm 46 years old, I can still go for ten years and come back. I just want the law to be followed."

"I want to lead a clean life. I will present my story to a credible person. And if my story's right, there's no credible person who can say whether you call Hlophe or you called Kriegler back to the bench, if the facts are clear. I'm just presenting facts. It's not me who must talk. The facts must speak for themselves."

Bongo said he was not disappointed by the impact these cases have had on his political career. 

He views them as the trials and tribulations of life. 

"It's not personal. I just take it as it comes. I don't blame anybody for this. It's a process that anybody who is a human being must go through."

"I'm at peace. I'm okay."