‘Mystery’ Zondo witness spills the alleged beans on Brian Molefe
'I was surprised to see bundles of R200 notes... I told Mr Molefe that the money was a safety risk for both of us and he was visibly upset,' he says.
Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe. Picture: Gallo Images
The first witness, who is an employee at Transnet, provided his testimony “in-camera” against those implicated in allegations of corruption, money-laundering and racketeering in state-owned entities (SOEs) before the commission of inquiry into state capture on Thursday, 13 August.
The former executives include former Transnet CFO Anoj Singh, former Eskom and Transnet CEO Brian Molefe, and former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama.
Chairperson of the commission Justice Raymond Zondo said before the testimony started that three “mystery” witnesses were to testify. He forbade that their identities be made public, and their voices were also altered on the microphone system.
In November 2019, it was reported that Transnet was to get R180 million back “in the very near future” from Gupta-linked company Regiments Capital, in relation to the controversial ‘1064 locomotives contract’.
Transnet acting CEO Mohammed Mahomedy conceded that the 2014 contract, involving four major global rail locomotive companies, had been riddled with irregularities and delays.
When the contract was approved, locomotives were bought from China South and North Rail, General Electric and Bombadier, while Molefe, Gama and Singh were at the helm of the SOE.
The mystery witness, a protection officer, revealed that he used to transport Molefe on various occasions from 2011 to 2014 to the Gupta residence in Saxonwold.
Other places included the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton, Fire & Ice in Melrose and the offices of Sahara Computers in Midrand.
“Mr Molefe had never mentioned anything about their visits at the Gupta residence, but he would tell the security at the gate that he was there to see Ajay Gupta,” the witness said.
The protection officer said he would see former Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba and Siyabonga Mahlangu, who was a special legal adviser to Gigaba, at the Saxonwold residence when he transported Molefe.
He added that at the time in 2011, every meeting was scheduled and placed in a logbook, however, the meetings Molefe had with Ajay Gupta were not logged.
“These meetings were never officially recorded in Molefe’s official diary and I have no idea why. They [meetings between Molefe and Ajay] would usually last from 20 to 45 minutes,” he said.
The protection officer said when Molefe visited the Guptas, he would often carry a light brown backpack.
“There were times when Molefe didn’t have the backpack with him, but when he didn’t have one, he would return from a meeting with the Guptas with a brown sports bag that was filled up with something,” he said.
While describing an incident where he was instructed to go fetch Molefe’s cellphone from the bag, the witness said he opened the light brown leather backpack to get the phone.
“I was surprised to see bundles of R200 notes. I then called his personal assistant (PA) and showed her the cash. I told Mr Molefe that the money was a safety risk for both of us and he was visibly upset. He said it’s none of my business what’s inside the bag,” he added.
He revealed that he would often deposit cash for Molefe, which amounted from R5,000 to R20,000.
“I would usually get the money from Mr Molefe’s PA or directly from him,” he said.
The witness further said he received threats which came from a person who called with a Transnet number.
“The first threat was on 9 June 2019 at 9:20pm. I received a message on my official phone. The person would tell me they know where I live, and then he dropped the phone.
“I also received a threat in 2018 after I was interviewed by the state capture investigators,” he said.
The witness added that he was once followed on three occasions by a white VW Polo (twice) and a grey VW Polo (one time) with no registration plates.
“I thought I was under surveillance. I was being followed and I managed to take a picture of one of the vehicles that followed me,” he said.
Continue to watch the live proceedings below: