From procurement matters relating to state-owned enterprise Transnet to the 2013 Jet Airways chartered Gupta-linked plane that landed at Air Force Base Waterkloof, the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo yesterday waded through unrelated themes in search of answers.
Implicated by several witnesses who have testified at the commission, former president Jacob Zuma is scheduled to respond from next Monday.
Former Transnet electrical engineer Francis Callard told how former group chief executive Brian Molefe increased figures on the locomotives tender from R38.6 billion to R54.5 billion before the board acquisition and disposal committee.
This, said Callard, was despite the negotiating team’s commitment to arrive “at an honest and accurate assessment of the increase”, from R38.6 billion to around R49.55 billion.
Citing the December 10, 2013 report of the cross-functional evaluation team, Callard said advance payments made in the acquisition of diesel locomotives to suppliers before delivery increased from initial bids, with Bombardier’s costs being slightly higher and China South Rail (CSR) presenting the highest increase, followed by China North Rail (CNR) and General Electric.
Callard said the 1,064-type locomotives saw upfront payments on signing the contracts of R250 million for the diesel locomotives and R300 million for the electric.
“It is my considered opinion that the contracted payment schedules negatively and unnecessary impacted Transnet.”
Callard said the board approved the locomotive fleet modernisation plan at a cost of R23.6 billion, subject to the submission of a holistic funding plan and affordability.
Air Force Base Waterkloof command post major Thabo Ntshisi was recalled by the commission and told Zondo how he had asked former state protocol chief Bruce Koloane for “a favour” after the illegal landing six years ago of the Gupta-linked aircraft at Waterkloof.
The favour sought from Koloane, now SA ambassador to the Netherlands, was for a woman called Sarah to find employment at the department of international relations and cooperation.