Dudu Myeni’s personal adviser assumed dominant role in failed R15bn SAA tender, commission hears

The commission heard testimony that Myeni's personal adviser had liaised with SAA even though the company appointed for the tender was not his own.

Former South African Airways (SAA) chair Dudu Myeni’s personal adviser, Masotsha Mngadi, assumed the dominant role in the R15 billion tender awarded to BNP Capital, the commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Thursday.

The tender was later cancelled and it was recommended that BNP Capital should be paid millions in a cancellation fee.

On the witness stand at the commission on Thursday is the director of BNP Capital Daniel Mahlangu.

Ahead of the tea break, the commission heard testimony from Mahlangu that Mngadi had approached him in 2016 to partner their respective entities – BNP Capital and Inline Trading – for the tender.

The commission heard that Mngadi assumed a dominant role in terms of sourcing funds, drafting relevant correspondence with SAA, which Mahlangu signed off. The correspondence would be on the letterhead of BNP Capital.

Mahlangu told the commission that a team of BNP Capital staffers would fact-check the letters drafted by Mngadi before Mahlangu would sign them off.

Other roles that Mngadi assumed would be to liaise with SAA and other parties, the commission heard.

Mahlangu told the commission that during this time he had neither met with the airline’s former chief financial officer (CFO) Phumeza Nhantsi nor any other official from SAA.

ALSO READ: Former SAA boss Dudu Myeni ‘ruled by fear’

Evidence leader at the commission on Thursday senior counsel Kate Hofmeyer said what was interesting is that when Mngadi initially approached Mahlangu, he had pitched that their two entities would enter into a joint venture with Mngadi’s own – Inline Trading – liaising with the airline.

However, there was no formal communication that came from Inline Trading, but rather all of it came from BNP Capital, the company which was appointed for the tender, the commission heard.

“In our understanding, Inline Trading was represented by Mr Mngadi,” Mahlangu told the commission.

Mahlangu told the commission that at the time he met Mngadi, he was neither aware that Mngadi was employed at Nedbank, a matter which he learned through the media, nor was he, Mahlangu, aware that the said bank had bid for the same tender.

Mahlangu was also questioned on whether he had done due diligence on Mngadi’s Inline Trading ahead of responding to the SAA tender’s requests for information and proposal (RFI and RFP, respectively), to which the witness responded there was not enough time to do so with regards the RFI.

Mahlangu and Mngadi first interacted on February 9, 2016, and the deadline for submitting the RFI was February 16 that year, the commission heard.

Mahlangu added that he had not done his homework on Inline Trading ahead of the RFP deadline of March 18, 2016, because Mngadi had been referred to him by a trusted and reliable person.

The commission heard that Inline Trading did not have financial reports which were required for the entity to partner with BNP Capital and that Mahlangu assumed that this was due to the former company’s inactivity or that it had not prepared any financials.

ALSO READ: Zondo commission hears testimony related to failed R15bn SAA tender

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