'Contaminated' fuel & staff shortages: SA Express's Estelle Loock state capture testimony

25 June 2019 - 13:55 By Cebelihle Bhengu
SA Express airport co-ordinator Estelle Loock testified before the Zondo commission on Monday about the procurement of Jet A-1 fuel.
SA Express airport co-ordinator Estelle Loock testified before the Zondo commission on Monday about the procurement of Jet A-1 fuel.
Image: Turners Travel via Twitter

The Zondo commission into state capture on Monday heard the testimony of SA Express airport co-ordinator Estelle Loock. She gave evidence on the aviation company's procurement of Jet A-1 fuel from empowerment company EML engineers and construction. 

Implicated in Loock's testimony was, among others, her former superior, Dave Allanby, who has since retired.

Here are five key quotes from her testimony:

Job description

"I had different roles as an airports co-ordinator, one of which was a financial one. I verified invoices according to the gazetted rates and according to contracts. Once I verify, it goes to the general manager for authorisation, then for payment."

This is what Loock told the commission her role was in 2017, which is the period in which the EML fuel deal was approved.

'Contaminated' fuel

Loock told the commission that the audit found the fuel which the company procured from EML engineers was contaminated. Her former manager, Dave Allanby, allegedly responded by telling her to "make a plan".

"Dave Allanby told me to look for a solution. He indicated that because of the urgency of the situation, I should contact our technical team which he said was already busy reviewing EML for refuelling and de-fuelling of the aircraft at OR Tambo Airport."

Supply chain management

"[In 2016/2017] the procurement section wasn't fully mended due to shortages of staff and  change of staff. This led to things not being done or finalised. This impacted my role as I became more involved in documentations that went to procurement to try to source service providers."

Acsa-owned airports vs non-Acsa airports

Loock told the commission that airports owned by Acsa, in locations including Johannesburg, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, used different service providers as fuel suppliers to those not owned by Acsa.

She told the commission that in instances where non-Acsa airports required fuel, SA Express would consult service providers as to which were preferred by those airports.

Loocks' removal from the Pilanesburg and Mafikeng airports

Loock told the commission that although she overlooked the operations of all airports, she was removed from the setting up of the Pilanesburg and Mafikeng airports.

She claimed that a divisional manager at the time removed her on the basis that her responsibilities did not extend to setting up commercial airports.


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