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Zondo Commission finds New Age and Transnet contracts irregular and wasteful

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the commission’s chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice (DCJ) Raymond Zondo

By Thys Khiba – The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture found that contracts between The New Age and Transnet, Eskom and SAA were irregular and wasteful.

This was discovered after the Acting Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, Justice Raymond Zondo submitted his report to President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Tuesday.

“This is a defining moment in our country’s effort to definitively end the era of state capture and restore the integrity, credibility and capability of our instituions, but more importantly, our government,” said Ramaphosa.

According to the first part of State Capture Commission Report Volume 2, which part of it focuses on The New Age and Breakfast Shows, noted that the removal of Themba Maseko as head of GCIS was one of the earliest acts of state capture.

“The TNA investigation conducted by the commission has shown that contracts concluded between TNA and Transnet, Eskom and SAA were not only irregular, but wasteful, too,” the report found.

The Zondo Commission recommended criminal prosecution against former Transnet CEO Brian Molefe, former SAA CEO Collin Matjila, and Tony Gupta for fraud and violation of the PMFA, among other charges.

“It was key to their efforts to have facilitators within the SOEs and government departments, such as GCIS, who would ensure that the entities committed millions of rands to the TNA despite there being no discernible value for the entities or government departments,” the report noted.

According to the Zondo Commission if Maseko was not removed and replaced by Mzwanele Manyi, state capture of this nature may not have occurred.

Evidence presented at the commission pointed to Zuma instructing then minister in the presidency Collins Chabane in 2010 to remove Maseko and replace him with Manyi.

“On the evidence heard by the Commission there is absolutely no doubt that President Zuma did, indeed, instruct Minister Chabane to fire Mr Themba Maseko or move him from his position as DG and CEO of GCIS. There is also no doubt that in giving this instruction, President Zuma was giving effect to the wishes of the Guptas or was complying with their request or instruction to him to remove Mr Maseko because he had refused to co-operate with them.”

“The report belongs to people of South Africa.” - President Cyril Ramaphosa
“The report belongs to people of South Africa.” – President Cyri lRamaphosa

This was after Maseko had refused to cooperate with the Guptas and give in to their demands.

“I on the other hand, was convinced that I would not be party to what I considered to be improper and potentially corrupt [arrangement] on his part to secure government business. In this regard, Mr Ajay Gupta did not offer me any personal benefit, he was clearly attempting to force my hand in a threatening manner,” said Maseko.

“It is inconceivable that this would have been allowed to occur if Mr Maseko had remained at the helm of GCIS,” the commission said in its over 800-page report.

The report found that the GCIS was an enabler of state capture during Manyi’s tenure.

“Had it not been for the fact that Mr Manyi was moved in to replace Mr Maseko, the GCIS would likely have resisted the Guptas’ incessant pressure on government departments to divert their media spend to their business.

“The commission confirmed evidence that the Gupta family’s influence over former president Zuma was considerable.

“They managed to ensure that a well-performing and principled public servant was removed at lightning speed when he refused to accede to their demands to divert millions of rands of public money to enrich their media business,” the report noted.


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