Makhosandile Zulu
2 minute read
29 Oct 2019
11:09 am

Zondo commission to hear evidence on millions spent by SOEs on contracts with The New Age

Makhosandile Zulu

The commission will also hear evidence relating to the 2014 R43 million Eskom and TNA business breakfast contract.

Eskom debt is skyrocketing.

The commission of inquiry into state capture will on Tuesday and the next couple of days hear evidence relating to the millions spent by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), namely Eskom and Transnet, on contracts with the now-defunct Gupta-owned The New Age (TNA) newspaper.

Evidence leader at the commission, senior counsel Kate Hofmeyr told the chairperson of the inquiry, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that the evidence will deal with the R59.6 million Eskom spent on contracts with TNA from 2011 to 2017.

Hofmeyr said the commission would also hear evidence relating to the R147 million Transnet spent in support of TNA, SABC business breakfast show and for advertising spend with the publication.

Hofmeyr said the commission would also deal with the findings of the parliamentary portfolio committee on public enterprises in its November 2018 report on the Eskom inquiry.

Hofmeyr said the findings by the committee included that it was not clear why Eskom directed so much advertising spend to TNA when it had limited circulation.

Hofmeyr said the commission would also hear evidence relating to Eskom’s R43 million sponsorship over two years to TNA’s corporate breakfast, which has former Eskom board member, board tender committee chair and former acting CEO Collin Matjila at the centre of this controversy.

Hofmeyr said it was found that there was “evidence of financial misconduct” in this sponsorship, among other issues.

The commission over the past few weeks made attempts to contact Matjila via telephone and email but “those efforts have not met with success” and “no response has been received”, Hofmeyr said.

First on the witness stand to deal with evidence relating to the contracts between Eskom and TNA is the SOE’s acting general manager: strategic marketing and branding of Eskom Peter Pretorius.

Hofmeyr said two current Transnet employees and the entity’s former board chair would take the witness stand at the commission in the coming days.

Hofmeyr said 36 rule notices to implicated or possibly implicated parties were issued by the commission, including former minister of public enterprises Malusi Gigaba, who has not applied to cross-examine witnesses that may implicate him but has placed before the commission his version of events which the witness will respond to.

Watch the proceedings live courtesy of eNCA:

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