Part 4 of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State was released on Friday, April 29 2022.
Volume 1 deals with the attempted capture of National Treasury, EOH Holdings and Alexkor. Volume 2 deals with the Free State asbestos project and the Free State R1 billion housing debacles, and Volume 3 and 4 covers the capture of Eskom.
Brief excerpts of Volumes 1 and 2 of Part 4 of the report are below:
National Treasury held off capture
National Treasury was put under tremendous pressure by former President Jacob Zuma, Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Dudu Myeni, then-chair of Eskom to approve certain deals.
Ministers Pravin Gordhan and Nhlanhla Nene, as ministers of finance in the relevant periods, put up fierce resistance to “wrongdoing”, including the nuclear deal, the Airbus transaction at SAA, the Khartoum Route for SAA, the PetroSA transaction, and the Denel Asia Venture.
The attempted capture reached a level of disbelief when Zuma appointed Des van Rooyen as finance minister, which Van Rooyen believed was in part based on his “passion for economic development and finance”, and Van Rooyen promptly paid Treasury a visit, tagging along two advisors. Meanwhile, the rand was taking a serious pounding.
Gordhan was reappointed, and replaced by Malusi Gigaba. The report explains how Zuma wanted to please the Guptas “by appointing someone they were happy with”. The attempt to capture National Treasury failed because of the resistance put up by un-captured officials. The report states: “The country should be grateful to all of them”.
EOH approached the commission to publicly disclose the wrongdoing that had taken place. Stephen van Coller, who was appointed as CEO of EOH in September 2018, and the EOH board appointed ENS Forensics to conduct independent and unfettered investigations into EOH’s historical involvement in irregular and corrupt procurements practices. EOH had irregularly influenced two City of Johannesburg contracts through improper payments and donations.
Certain Gupta-linked individuals or entities were irregularly or corruptly awarded certain contracts at Alexkor, the state diamond mining company. Alexkor had introduced a plan to diversify diamond mining to include coal and lime, and to supply Eskom with coal, “pursuant to contracts from which the Gupta Enterprise would benefit”. The process for the repurposing of Alexkor commenced with the assistance of the respective Ministers of Public Enterprises Lynne Browne and Malusi Gigaba.
Zondo Commission has Alexkor in the cross hairs
Diamonds and dirty dealings: Alexkor whistleblower testifies
The Free State asbestos project
The Free State asbestos project involved the irregular awarding of a contract for the eradication of asbestos roofing, to be carried out on 300 000 houses – which cost some R255 million. The joint venture appointed to carry out the work had no previous experience, and was appointed by the Free State Department of Human Settlements (FSDHS) “without any care or concern for skill, experience, training or qualification”. The joint venture made payments to secret beneficiaries and connected persons, including Colin Pitso (R6.5 million), Bongani More (R7.5 million), Paul Mashatile (R327 thousand), Pinky Kekana (R170 thousand), Zizi Kodwa (R175 thousand) and Zweli Mkhize (R6.5 million). Other payments made amounted to R3.5 million.
Some notable players in this saga of irregularities and corruption include Elias Sekgobelo “Ace” Magashule, Tony Gupta and other Gupta associates. Mxolisi Dukwana, the former Free State MEC, refused to sign when he “was offered cash in a briefcase if he signed a document which would have given the Guptas and their associates some work in the Free State”.
Mxolisi Dukwana provided the commission with valuable testimony, and implicated the main players.
The Free State R1 Billion Housing Project
The Free State R1 Billion Housing Project was a debacle and a dismal failure. On March 25, 2010 the Free State’s Department of Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements allocated R1.3 billion for the construction of housing units. The MEC was Mosebenzi Zwane.
The province gave more than R500 million to more than 100 contractors before any work was done. No procurement process was followed. The FSDHS lost some R400 million.
By the end of that financial year, no houses had been built for the poor. The commission concluded that Zwane “failed dismally to provide proper leadership” in the FSDHS in 2010. Zwane’s “dismal performance” relating to the Estina Vrede Dairy Farm debacle will be dealt with in a later section of the commission’s report.
The commission noted that “there is no indication whatsoever that the African National Congress was itself effectively monitoring and supervising Mr Magashule’s performance as the premier, because the Free State R1 Billion Housing Project, the Free State asbestos project, and the Estina Vrede Dairy Farm were all debacles, despite that these projects were meant to “assist the poorest of the poor in the Free State”.
Asbestos kingpin insists there was ‘value for money’
Asbestos project highlights the murkiness around government tenders
Free State asbestos project engulfed in corruption and greed
Lost millions and lost memories seem to go hand in hand
Asbestos heist: Further details emerge at the Zondo Commission
Magashule’s fatally-flawed court challenge
The commission recommends that the law enforcement agencies should conduct further investigations to determine whether Moses Mpho “Gift” Mokoena, former FSDHS, Mosebenzi Zwane and other officials of the department, should be charged with “fraud arising out of the misrepresentation on the advance payment scheme”, as the department knew that it would not be able to build the number of houses it said it could.