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DIRTY DEALS: DRC, South Africa To Sign An Inflated $500 Million Infrastructure Agreement To Benefit Pres. Tshisekedi & His Family

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi arrived in Cape Town last night to attend the Investing in Mining Africa conference at which he is also expected to sign a $500 million infrastructure development deal.

Former Durban mayor and high ranking ANC member Zandile Gumede is reportedly at the center of the lucrative deal which is aimed largely to benefit members of the ruling class in the two respective country.

Gumede is not new to controversy and corruption related conduct after being fired as Durban mayor in 2020 over a waste disposal tender valued at about R400-million and later being romped into the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature against all odds.

South African officials attending the conference have expressed skepticism over the deal saying there were too many grey areas.

“First, there is an issue of where will we as South Africa get the money to fund these Congolese projects because we have a lot of economic challenges right now; our social services are collapsing, we have a massive problem with power supply and our economy is generally limping. If this is our position, then we have to be careful about any financial commitments we make.

“Secondly, there are elections in the DRC in a few months so if we sign such a significant deal now, what happens if there is a change of government? It’s always better to wait to sign such deals after elections especially in our type of politics. We can’t take this risk,” an official who spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to issue statements said.

Meanwhile, President spoke at a presidential panel with his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa discussing the strategic advancement of the Congolese and South African economies driven by mining.

President Tshisekedi, who arrived in Cape Town on Monday evening February 6, will also meet with mining operators on the sidelines of the conference.

Although the South African officials are approaching the deal with caution partly because of Gumede’s involvement and other grey areas, their Congolese counterparts are enthusiastic.

“This enthusiasm from the Congolese delegation is about the motivation behind the agreement. For instance, $100 million is the working capital set aside mostly for construction machinery. The other $200 million is earmarked for administrative, planning and implementation processes. So, the project will cost $300 million in total,” the source said.

“It leaves us with $200 million and that is the catch. The remainder of the money is going to the boss and some of his family members. Part of the money is desperately needed to help fund the campaigns President Tshisekedi.”

Congo is one of the most corrupt African countries with Transparency International ranking it 166th of the 180 surveyed.

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