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

The commission of inquiry into state capture is hearing testimony relating to the state capture of Prasa, and one businessman's apparent power has been under close scrutiny.

A service provider at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), who is said to be closely linked to former president Jacob Zuma, told employees at the agency of looming “big changes” in top government and cautioned them that they would not want to be on the “wrong side” once these came into effect.

The CEO of Autopax, Tiro Holele, on Wednesday told the commission of inquiry into state capture of a meeting held in  2017  around February or March attended by himself, a colleague of his at the time and the said service provider, Roy Moodley.

At the time, Holele worked in the office of Prasa’s group CEO while Moodley represented a company that had a contract with the agency, Prodigy.

The commission heard that the meeting had initially been arranged by Prodigy’s managing director, who wanted to meet outside of the Prasa building for the sake of Holele’s safety.

“She said something to the effect that it was for my own protection,” Holele said, which he said he found “bizarre”.

Holele said he, however, insisted that the meeting should be held at Prasa because there was a dispute, and the matter was in court, about the validity of the contract and a payment the service provider felt it was owed and so he, Holele, felt it would be inappropriate to convene the meeting outside of the agency’s premises.

Holele told the commission that Moodley was known to be “a very influential person” at Prasa and described him as being “very forceful”.

Evidence leader at the commission Advocate Vas Soni pointed out that it was at this meeting that Moodley told Holele and his colleague of the power he wielded.

ALSO READ: Zondo commission to hear testimony on the state capture of Prasa

Holele told the commission that Moodley requested Prasa pay an amount of about R24 million to Prodigy, but he and his colleague remained resolute that this could not be done.

Moodley then told the two Prasa employees, in a firm voice, that “big changes” were on the cards in top-level government and that they should position themselves to be “on the right side”, Holele told the commission.

The witness said he understood this to mean that the changes would include axing and replacing the minister of transport, a portfolio held by Dipuo Peters at the time.

Holele said Moodley told them the changes would include “the young man’s” return, which he understood to mean that Lucky Montana would come back to Prasa following his departure from the agency as its group CEO.

“It didn’t surprise me that he would say something like that,” Holele said.

He told the commission it was clear that he, Holele, needed to be on Moodley’s side and that his continued refusal to pay Prodigy meant he would be on the wrong side of the businessman.

The commission heard that the meeting ended at a stalemate.

A few weeks after the meeting, a cabinet reshuffle took place, which saw Peters being replaced by Joe Maswanganyi.

Soni had earlier told the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that testimony will be provided about monthly payments Zuma allegedly received from an entity linked to Moodley, from 2007 to 2009.

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