Reitumetse Makwea
Digital Intern
3 minute read
6 Jan 2022
7:04 am

Saica investigating former SAA board member Yakhe ‘Fat Cakes’ Kwinana

Reitumetse Makwea

Kwinana went viral for using a 'fat cake' analogy at the commission to justify cancelling a R85 million tender and handing it to subsidiary Air Chefs without a tender.

The commission has suggested she be charged with fraud and corruption. Photo: Twitter / @inanda884fm

Former board member of South African Airways (SAA) Yakhe Kwinana is in hot water as the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) confirms an investigation is ongoing following corruption allegations against her in the report from the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

“Saica has afforded her an opportunity to make representations following previous media reports after she appeared in front of the Zondo Commission in November 2020. To date no such response has been received,” it said.

Kwinana went viral for using a “fat cake” analogy at the commission to justify cancelling a R85 million tender and handing it to subsidiary Air Chefs without a tender.

In response to a question about why she took this decision, considering that Air Chefs had previously rendered this service but had been dismissed due to customer dissatisfaction, she told the commission it was one of the best decisions she ever made at the airline. 

She said:

“When I make this example of this LSG Sky Chefs… if my daughter is selling fat cakes here at home why would I buy them next door and not tell her that I don’t like your fat cakes?”

Yakhe Kwinana

In response to her bizarre answers, Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the time told her that she was “not doing justice” to herself.

“You are a professional. You are a chartered accountant. Clients out there trust that you can do your work as a chartered accountant. I don’t know how many times I’ve explained simple things and tried, in order to be fair to you, to say please, just answer the questions that are being asked.”

He warned that if he were to make adverse findings against her, these could have serious implications.

ALSO READ: Ex-SAA board member Yakhe Kwinana denies R100m bribe claim

Now Zondo has called on Saica to investigate whether Kwinana had the “requisite knowledge and appreciation of her obligations” to practise as a chartered accountant.

“The commission believes the answers she gave to certain questions during her evidence revealed either that she has no clue of some of the basic obligations that she should know as a charted accountant,” Zondo said.

“Or she knew those obligations but dishonestly pretended she did not know them because it was convenient to do so” “In either case Saica should be interested in investigating the matter.”

According to the report, Kwinana probably received “corrupt payments” that “were made in exchange for decisions she was involved in that benefited the entity that made the payments”.

The report said: “Ms Kwinana failed to give any plausible explanation for why, as the chair of SAAT and a board member of SAA, it was lawful and appropriate for her to have received payments from an entity, and persons affiliated with it, that was a supplier to SAAT.”

Saica chief executive Freeman Nomvalo said the chartered accountancy profession was undergoing debates on how to maintain professional independence.

“Adherence to the highest standards of ethical conduct, professional integrity and avoidance of conflict of interest must remain the bedrock of the accountancy profession.

“Saica expects all its members to uphold these values in all professional circumstances.

“All members who are found to have contravened Saica’s Code of Professional Conduct will be held accountable without fear or favour including all members mentioned in the comprehensive Zondo Commission Report.”