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Zuma and Mbalula to be implicated in Prasa-related testimony before Zondo commission

11 March 2020 - 13:49 By ZINGISA MVUMVU
Former president Jacob Zuma will feature in evidence to be presented at the commission of inquiry into state capture.
Former president Jacob Zuma will feature in evidence to be presented at the commission of inquiry into state capture.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

The state capture inquiry is to hear testimony implicating individuals including former president Jacob Zuma, transport minister Fikile Mbalula and businessman Roy Moodley.

This was revealed by commission evidence leader advocate Vas Soni on Wednesday.

Soni said evidence related to the capture of Prasa would reveal how former CEO of the state-owned company Lucky Montana allegedly “played a central” role in enabling state capture that cost the state-owned entity (SOE) billions.

The capturers, Soni alleged, appeared to include Moodley and another businessman, Mkahensa Mabunda.

This is how Prasa-related testimony will unfold in the coming days:

On Zuma

The commission will hear that Zuma allegedly received payments of up to R1.5m from Moodley between 2007 and 2009, when he took over as head of state at the Union Buildings.

“Between July 2007 and June 2009, an entity directly linked to Mr Moodley, Royal Security Pty Ltd, had some R64,000 a month paid to Mr Jacob Zuma, until just about the time Mr Zuma became the president of the country. The total amount paid is more than R1.5m,” said Soni.

“Then, from 2010 Royal Security began receiving contracts from Prasa and has so far been paid more than R471m by Prasa.”

On Moodley

Another company, Siyangena Technologies, allegedly secured a Prasa contract worth more than R4bn. Siyangena then allegedly paid more than R500m to entities in which Moodley had an interest.

Further evidence on Moodley, to be given by former Prasa board chairperson Popo Molefe, would reveal how the businessman would go to Prasa's head office and walk around the building as if he owned it.

Soni said Molefe would tell the commission it appeared Moodley was part of Prasa's executive management, as he frequented its head office.

On Montana

Soni said evidence would indicate how Montana allegedly spearheaded, with passion, the implementation and extension of contracts awarded to Moodley and Mabunda-linked companies.

“Mr Montana, evidence will show, played a central role in the award of that R4bn contract to Siyangena,” said Soni.

“The validity of the contract to Siyangena has been challenged in the courts, but not the Royal Security contract.”

On Mabunda

Soni said evidence would show that Mabunda, who previously worked with Montana at the department of public enterprises, allegedly benefited from Prasa.

Mabunda’s company, Siyayaya, and entities linked to it, was allegedly paid more than R1bn by Prasa for “purportedly” providing consulting services, said Soni.

“Mr Mabunda also received an amount of more than R80m in respect of a locomotive contract that Prasa concluded with a third party,” he said.

“Apparently, we will get evidence, the payment was for facilitating that contract.”

On Mbalula

Evidence, Soni added, would show how state capture continued at Prasa under Mbalula.

This would be demonstrated in evidence alleging that Mbalula dissolved a Prasa board in 2019 for refusing to appoint his preferred candidate as CEO.

This testimony will be given by former Prasa board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama.

“That board was dissolved in December 2019 and what she will say is that the reason her board was dissolved is that the minister wanted a particular individual, Mr Bongisizwe Mpondo, to be appointed the CEO and the board wanted a proper process to be followed before the decision is taken,” said Soni.

“The minister, Mr Mbalula, became impatient and dissolved the board.”

After the disbandment of the board, Mbalula appointed Mpondo as the administrator of Prasa, a decision that's being challenged in court.

“That ... is in substance the nature of the evidence we will lead to show that Prasa was, in fact, captured and who the capturers were, and who the enforcers of the capture were,” said Soni.

Tiro Holele, CEO of Autopax, was the first witness in the hot seat on Wednesday.