Popo Molefe says ANC knew about Prasa corruption
Former Prasa board chair says during Jacob Zuma's term as president, ANC MPs overlooked the misuse of public funds for personal benefit.
Former Chairman of PRASA Popo Molefe testifies at the State Capture Commision at the old JHB council Chambers in Braamfontein, 13 March 2020. Picture Neil McCartney
Popo Molefe has accused ANC parliamentarians during former president Jacob Zuma’s term of overlooking allegations of corruption and the use of public funds for personal benefit.
Molefe, the former chairperson of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), on Tuesday testified at the commission of inquiry into state capture about the sustained attempts by those in power to remove him and the board he chaired, for pursuing corruption within the state-owned entity (SOE).
One of the controversial issues he touched on was former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana was exposed for lying about the circumstances in which a R2 billion tender for the modernisation of the agency’s Braamfontein depot was awarded.
He said an attempt by the chair of the board capital and finance committee to push through the tender quickly raised suspicions.
“The tender for that depot didn’t exist and he knew it didn’t exist and the tender process for that time involved well over R2 billion.”
Molefe’s testimony on Monday afternoon also dealt with Dipuo Peters’ reshuffling and replacement with Joe Maswanganyi as the minister of transport at the end of March 2017.
He told the commission that Peters had dismissed his board without giving substantive reasons, and that her decision was later declared by a court as irrational and then set aside, resulting in their reinstatement.
The commission heard that soon after his appointment, Maswanganyi served Molefe’s board with notices requesting they provide reasons why they should not be removed, which the former Prasa board chair said was a clear indication that the board was not wanted.
However, Maswanganyi did not go ahead with the threat of terminating the board, the commission heard.
Molefe said Maswanganyi achieved the same “objectives” and “goals” Peters sought by rendering the board dysfunctional by failing to appoint two directors to make it quorate.
He told the commission that some of his board members were lobbied to resign, with two of them actually resigning.
Two businessmen from Maswanganyi’s home province, Limpopo, visited Molefe at his home at around April or May 2017 and told the former Prasa board chair that the former minister had asked them to relay the message that an amicable separation should be announced at a press briefing.
In an apparent swipe at those within the governing party placing their political loyalties above that of the country, Molefe has called for people to fight corruption, be principled and respect their values and not love their political parties more than the country.
He cautioned that allowing the abuse of power to continue unchecked was dangerous and could lead to the loss of life, negatively impact the country’s economy and have an adverse effect on people’s livelihoods.
“The fundamental issue that drives us should be our values and principles,” Molefe said, adding that it should not be a love for party colours or the party but rather the rights and freedoms of the people of the country.
Molefe said even the fight against apartheid had not been about a particular political party assuming the seat of governance but about South Africans democratically electing its leadership.
Molefe’s testimony continues, watch live courtesy of the SABC: