Journalist Ranjeni Munusamy has lamented that the “baseless” allegations made against her at the state capture commission of inquiry “abruptly halted” her life.
In an article published on spotlight.africa on Monday, Munusamy compared her situation to that of former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, who she said was also caught in the inquiry’s “crossfire.”
She wrote, “There is a possibility that I might end as a mere footnote in the great state capture saga, as the allegations against me may be considered peripheral to the inquiry’s core business.”
Crime Intelligence slush fund
Munusamy added, “The false accusations against me feel, however, like a face tattoo – hideous and defining – and threaten to recast who, and what, I really am.”
Col Dhananjaya Naidoo, a former Crime Intelligence official who turned state witness, told the inquiry in September last year that Munusamy had benefitted from a Crime Intelligence slush fund.
He alleged that about R40,000 was used to service Munusamy’s BMW convertible in 2008. Naidoo is currently in witness protection.
A Hawks investigator, Col Kobus Roelofse, also testified that R143,621.78 from the same slush fund was allegedly paid to Wesbank Vehicle Finance to settle a car in Munusamy’s name.
Zondo grants approval to cross-examine
The Tiso Black Star journalist denied the allegations but was placed on special leave. In her article on Monday, she said the inquiry’s chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has now granted her application to testify and cross-examine “one of my accusers.”
She said “sometime between 2008 and 2009,” she called the police to “inspect” her car after all four tyres were deflated at a shopping centre, suggesting she did so because of security concerns.
Munusamy explained, “Naidoo seemed not to know that my car was sent to the police to be inspected and made the ridiculous conclusion that I handed it over to be repaired, serviced and four new tyres fitted.”
She said she wasn’t working as a journalist at the time and only resumed in 2012, adding, “Naidoo jumped to another bizarre conclusion that the incident was reflective of a scheme to bribe journalists.”
She claimed Naidoo did not disclose what she had done in exchange for the alleged benefits. “In my case, the accusers have not produced evidence of any quid pro quo,” she wrote.
Munusamy implied that her reputation may remain tarnished until the inquiry completes its work and clears her name.
“It is my wish that the arbiter, in this context Judge Zondo, declares my innocence, not just pronounce the obvious – that our society is deeply corrupted and that the state was captured,” she concluded.