Zondo wants political leaders, elected officials to account for actions taken against SOE corruption

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond 'Ray' Zondo greets the commission before hearing testimony from Trevor Manuel and Siphiwe Nyanda, 28 February 2019. Picture: Karen Sandison / African News Agency (ANA)

Former Prasa board chair Popo Molefe says the ANC’s top six were briefed on corruption at the SOE but nothing was done.

The chairperson of the commission of inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has said that he wants political leaders and elected officials to tell him what action they took against alleged corruption at some state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Zondo said this on Monday when the commission resumed its proceedings with the former chairperson of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) Popo Molefe returning to the witness stand.

Molefe told Zondo that at some point during his tenure as Prasa chair, he had briefed the governing African National Congress (ANC) top six leadership on the board’s investigations that revealed “massive corruption” at the SOE and how the entity’s former CEO, Lucky Montana, had misled it so an irregular tender would be issued.

Molefe said the tender was eventually halted after the board learned that it had been misled.

The former Prasa board chair said the party’s top six, however, did not come back to him on what action would be taken against these acts of corruption.

He told Zondo that a campaign run in the media and involving mass mobilisation and vilification of the board was launched, aimed at bringing an end to the board’s investigations.

For the state capture process to succeed systems in government organisations had to be “broken and weakened” and “good people” were substituted with compliant individuals who would advance the agenda of looting state resources and state capture, Molefe said.

Zondo said the party’s leadership and elected government officials would have to testify at the commission and explain the action they took against publicly known acts of corruption in some SOEs.

Zondo said it appears that corruption and subsequent challenges at SOEs such South African Airways, Eskom, Denel, among others, didn’t “start now” and political and government leaders would have to account for the action they took against this.

Zondo questioned whether parliament had exercised its oversight role to investigate corruption at SOEs and whether the president, ministers, directors-general had been called to account and told would be held accountable if no action is taken against corruption.

He said he has said it publicly that he had spoken to speaker of parliament and the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces that they would have to testify at the commission to give an account of what action they took against corruption in certain SOEs.

Zondo said the speaker and chair of the NCOP could say the two entities did all they could but due to certain limitations in terms of mechanisms and resources could only do so much and so in future their roles would have to be amended to make them more effective in dealing with corruption.

Watch the commission’s proceedings live courtesy of the SABC:

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