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By Makhosandile Zulu


Popo Molefe to testify on Zuma-linked businessman’s attempt to capture him

The commission heard that this allegedly took place at the time when Molefe was the chair at Prasa.

Former chairperson of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), Popo Molefe on Wednesday took the witness stand at the commission of inquiry into state capture to give testimony relating to the alleged capture of the state-owned enterprise (SOE).

Molefe is currently the chairperson at Transnet.

In his opening remarks, Molefe said in his statement before the commission, he has outlined that in order to facilitate the capture of Prasa, within the context of state capture, the modus operandi of the capturers was to capture individuals holding key positions – having the authority and influence in the awarding of tenders – at the SOE.

Molefe said his testimony seeks to show that state organs and institutions – including the parliamentary portfolio committee which were meant to protect SOEs and their executives – failed in their duties and so allowed the capture of Prasa, which resulted in certain individuals benefiting.

Molefe said the Hawks “refused to do their job” despite being provided with detailed investigations and volumes of evidence on the corrupt activity at Prasa.

He said his testimony would also touch on attempts to “muzzle” the then board.

Molefe said the failure of the parliamentary portfolio committee to carry out its responsibility to objectively assess the work at Prasa led to him writing to the Speaker of parliament at the time, on behalf of the board, to ask for a public inquiry on the maladministration at the agency.

His testimony is expected to deal with the problems the board he chaired encountered soon after its appointment in August 2014.

ALSO READ: Zuma-linked Roy Moodley claimed to be one of the decision makers in the nomination of CEOs for SOEs

Furthermore, Molefe’s testimony will deal with an attempt by a businessman linked to former president Jacob Zuma, Roy Moodley, to capture him personally.

Molefe’s testimony will also be about the deterioration of the relationship between him and the board on one hand and former Prasa CEO, Lucky Montana on the other.

The commission is expected to hear that after Montana left Prasa, Zuma called Molefe to a meeting where he attempted to persuade the latter to reinstate Montana, despite the former Prasa CEO having tendered his resignation to the board, which accepted it.

Molefe told the commission that the reality around that issue was that Montana’s contract was due to end on 31 March 2015, “it is, therefore, a misnomer [to say that he resigned]”.

Molefe said Montana had requested that at the end of his contract he should continue as CEO  for six months while assisting the board to find his replacement, which was granted.

Molefe said in hindsight, following investigations, it has become clear to him that Montana wanted to use the six months to cover up corrupt activities which took place during his tenure as CEO.

Evidence leader at the commission, advocate Vas Soni said Molefe in his statement laments the fact that the board he chaired was allowed to disintegrate.

“At that point, it had become clear to me that I was now being considered as the main obstacle by the government and the minister,” Molefe said, adding that as a way of dealing with him, the board was made to not meet a quorum when it met so that it could not take valid decisions.

The commission has adjourned and will resume on Thursday with Molefe back on the witness stand.

ALSO READ: How Zuma-linked Roy Moodley ‘warned of big changes’ at Prasa, Autopax CEO reveals

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