Official: Shabangu is lying
Pretoria - Property mogul Roux Shabangu was not telling the truth about the procurement of the Middestad building in Pretoria, a board of inquiry heard on Friday.
Public works deputy director for property leasing Mokgaetji Tlolane disputed Shabangu's claims that she tipped him off about the police's accommodation requirements.
Speaking through an interpreter, Tlolane said she did not play a role in the acquisition of the building apart from signing a document as part of her official duties.
In her sworn statement Tlolane said the department was not informed when the SA Police Service (Saps) and Roux Property Fund began to negotiate the building lease.
The board is conducting an inquiry into the conduct of suspended national police commissioner Bheki Cele. It has to establish whether Cele acted corruptly, dishonestly, or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to two police lease deals signed with Shabangu.
The board also has to determine his fitness to hold office, and his capacity to efficiently execute his duties.
Under cross-examination on Friday by Vincent Maleka SC, for Cele, Tlolane said she could not speak for everyone in the department, only herself.
"So your statement should say at no stage did Mr Shabangu ever tell you that negotiations were underway between the two parties?" asked Maleka. She agreed.
"Do you accept that the generalised claim in your statement is misleading?" Maleka asked again.
She replied: "I prepared that statement based on my understanding of the questions" (posed during consultations with the evidence-leading team).
Differences in statements
Maleka took Tlolane to task over differences between two statements she made.
"I can fairly tell you that I have compared the draft statement and the signed one. Do you accept there are significant material differences between the two statements?"
Tlolane reacted: "I have read the (draft) statement but I don't remember its contents. I was not feeling well when the draft statement was made, I can't recall the contents."
In the draft Tlolane complains Shabangu put her unit "under a lot of pressure" for delaying the process, yet he and SAPS had already established a technical team relating to the procurement.
This information was omitted from Tlolane's signed statement.
"I agree, however, I mentioned that the department of public works was not informed that the negotiations had begun," said Tlolane.
Board chairperson Judge Jake Moloi earlier said Shabangu had refused to testify before the inquiry.
"We, as the board, had invited Mr Shabangu to come and testify, but he has flatly refused to do so."
The matter was postponed two weeks ago due to the unavailability of Tlolane, who claimed she was sick and unable to testify.
On Friday, Tlolane took the stand after evidence leader Viwe Notshe told the board she had brought documents from doctors confirming her illness. Tlolane asked the board not to disclose the nature of her illness, said Notshe.
The evidence-leading team hoped Tlolane's evidence would eliminate the probability that Shabangu could have been tipped off by public works officials that the police needed office space.
Shabangu has identified Tlolane was the person who informed him that the police wanted to lease the Sanlam Middestad building in Pretoria.
This is reportedly contained in a 60-page affidavit Shabangu aims to use to absolve himself of any wrongdoing in the lease saga.
Shabangu claims Tlolane arranged the first meeting with SAPS, and told him the matter would not go out to tender because of its urgency.
Cele has maintained he had nothing to do with identifying the two buildings - Sanlam Middestad in Pretoria and Transnet in Durban - for police office space.
This was despite Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's negative findings last year about his role in the leases.
The matter was postponed to Monday.