Lynne Brown plans to clear name with Zondo

Public Enterprise Minister Lynne Brown during a meeting with Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) on May 30, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Esa Alexander)

Babadi Tlatsana named several prominent ANC members while detailing the alleged capture of her company.

Former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown plans to respond to allegations made against her at the weekend at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

Babadi Tlatsana, director of implicated company Koroneka Trading and Projects, told the inquiry on Saturday that former SA Express general manager Brian van Wyk told her millions of rands in seemingly illicit payments had to be made to former ministers, including Brown and Dipuo Peters, formerly in charge of the transport department.

Tlatsana also named several prominent ANC members while detailing the alleged capture of her company.

The inquiry sat for the first time on a Saturday to hear Tlatsana’s testimony, which she began by implicating Van Wyk. She claimed Van Wyk told her that R20 million had to be paid to both Peters and Brown. Koroneka Trading and Projects, in which Tlatsana was the sole director, became a preferred bidder in 2014 to conduct ground handling services at Pilanesberg and Mahikeng airports.

The entity had been delivering meat and vegetables to hospitals before clinching the SA Express contract, which Tlatsana conceded was out of her frame of reference, as she had no idea of how to do ground handling.

Van Wyk allegedly assured her to “just do the marketing and passengers’ flights, for them to get tickets, as well as the administration”, she said in an earlier testimony on Thursday.

Besides Brown and Peters, other officials she mentioned in her testimony included former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, North West transport MEC Oageng Molapisi, community safety and transport management head of department Bailey Mahlakoleng and the provincial chief financial officer in the department of community safety and transport, Kutlwano Phatudi.

Koroneka was therefore actively used to direct millions to those set to benefit, at Van Wyk’s instruction, Tlatsana said. Van Wyk also allegedly pressured her to “donate” money to the ANC, even though she conceded that she did not know why. Tlatsana donated R1 million to the party in 2016.

In addition to her shock claims, she added that she was fearful of being killed, telling Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that she had received death threats and was afraid that Mahumapelo would kill her if she spoke out about the irregularities in her company’s hiring and the money directed to ministers.

Tlatsana said an acquaintance told her in 2017: “Don’t you know that Supra needs your head, he wants to kill you. They say you ran away with the airport money.”

“What did you think the ANC would do to you that you were fearing?” Zondo asked, to which she responded: “To be killed, chair.”

The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture resumes today.

– jenniffero@citizen.co.za

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