OVERVIEW: McBride ready, but testimony postponed to notify high-profile people of being implicated at #StateCaptureInquiry

2019-02-14 12:30

Proceedings at the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture adjourned after the testimony of IPID head Robert McBride was postponed in order to notify over 30 people, some high profile, who are implicated in his evidence.

WATCH LIVE: State Capture Inquiry 

(Courtesy of SABC)

Vytjie Mentor is supported by Dennis Bloem at the
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Last Updated at 14:09
14 Feb 12:43

14 Feb 12:39

Zondo thanks McBride once again, and adjourns proceedings until Monday, where further testimony from National Treasury witnesses is expected.



14 Feb 12:37

Zondo: "I just want to say to Mr McBride, thank you very much for coming forward. We appreciate it very much, we need a lot of people who have knowledge of what has been happening to come forward and share with the nation what they know, and their experiences, so that the commission can help the nation understand what the challenges have been and what should be done to ensure that in the future those challenges are not repeated."

Zondo: "So I thank you for coming. I understand that there has been a discussion with you about the issue of the postponement. You don't have a problem, you just wanted to know that from your side, you were ready to start giving evidence. Is that correct?" 

McBride: "That's correct chair." 

Zondo: "Thank you very much." 

Zondo now addresses Pretorius on the issue of the postponement. The exact date will be determined "some time in the future". Zondo grants the postponement. 


14 Feb 12:30

14 Feb 12:29

Pretorius requests that McBride's evidence be led at the commission at a later date, given the processes that have to be followed in terms of fairness and consistency, and Zondo is in agreement. 

Zondo says the commission must be seen to be consistent when dealing with evidence from witnesses, and in notifying implicated parties in advance. 

Zondo: "I don't have any difficulty granting the postponement in this case."


14 Feb 12:24

Pretorius says McBride's statement and evidence seriously implicates 30 people, many of whom are professionals and holders of high office. Pretorius focuses on the issue of fairness towards those implicated by McBride's evidence, and also the time constraints currently faced by the commission.


14 Feb 12:20

Wiese is thanked for her time, and is excused from the commission. 

Advocate Paul Pretorius now addresses Zondo, informs him that Robert McBride is present and ready to give his testimony. 

Pretorius and Zondo now discuss some procedural issues. 



14 Feb 12:19

Wiese finishes off by explaining what scope of work would be needed by a team of specific experts to dig a bit deeper into the properties at the Saxonwold compound, some of whom would have to be outsourced from outside of the Department of Public Works. 

Wiese says the undertaking could cost in the region of R810 000 per month, and that excludes repairs to the properties after the inspections are done. 


14 Feb 12:14

"Annexure G" is called up on the screen. Wiese explains the functionality of the programme, and how a "slider" function can be used to move between different dates, so one can observe what the property looked like at that point in time.



14 Feb 12:10

Wiese says they used Google Earth/Maps Pro to go further back and observe what the property had looked like, and to determine if there were any changes made to the properties since.


14 Feb 12:03

Zondo: "Now, bearing in mind the features that you had been asked to go and see if they could be found in the property - in other words, bearing in mind your brief - did you find any of the features in the house that you had been asked to go and establish whether they were there?" 

Wiese: "No chair, we could not." 

Zondo: "Not even one?" 

Wiese: "Not even one." 


14 Feb 12:00

On the guest bathroom inside the Gupta residence, Wiese describes it as "fairly dated", as opposed to how Mentor had described it. 


14 Feb 11:56

14 Feb 11:50

14 Feb 11:40

Back from the break, Wiese continues describing the steps leading up to the home's entrance. Zondo asks Wiese if she understood that Mentor was suggesting the steps were changed, and Wiese says yes. 

Wiese says Mentor spoke of marble steps, and they encountered "grey granite steps". 


14 Feb 11:22

Zondo calls for the short morning adjournment. Back in 10 minutes.


14 Feb 11:21

Wiese now describes the assessment of the property, with Mentor in tow.

Wiese: "On property five, 10 steps were identified, not the five or six steps Ms Mentor remembered. And she could also not remember the column bases or the pedestals on top of the staircase, with the columns on top of the pedestals."



14 Feb 11:08

Wiese says Mentor couldn't immediately identify which house it was when they arrived at the Saxonwold compound.

Wiese says Mentor "settled on property number five".


14 Feb 11:05

14 Feb 11:03

Wiese says her team carried out the task in accordance with the verbal brief from the commission's legal team. 

Wiese: "It was a site inspection, so we've done a walkabout, and did a visual inspection. Due to the lack of other evidence, like the building plans, we had no further information on the properties. So with the information at hand, we walked around the properties and did a visual inspection."



14 Feb 10:59

14 Feb 10:53

14 Feb 10:50

Wiese, a qualified architect, was part of the team from the Department of Public Works that conducted the visual inspection of the Guptas' home in Saxonwold last year. The team was brought in by the commission to verify the things or "features" Mentor said she had seen at the compound.


14 Feb 10:43

The expert witness, Erna Wiese from the Department of Public Works, is sworn in.


14 Feb 10:34

Buthelezi finishes her evidence with Bloem, and Zondo just clarifies a few more issues before excusing Bloem. Zondo thanks him for his time, for coming out to clear up a few things, and tells Bloem he may be called back to the commission again at any time. 

Next up, is the "expert witness", and the commission's legal team requests a five-minute break for the "change of guard".

Zondo grants a five-minute adjournment.


14 Feb 10:31

Bloem says Mentor told him that she was informing him of the incident because she trusted him, and she asked him to keep the information confidential. Bloem says when Mentor went public with the allegations in 2016, he then opened a case of treason against Jacob Zuma and others.


14 Feb 10:25

Zondo and Buthelezi ask Bloem very specific questions in relation to Mentor's testimony, but Bloem is mindful in reminding them that his testimony is from memory, and to the best of his recollection.


14 Feb 10:19

Bloem says his meeting with Mentor took place in one of the lounges in Parliament. 

Bloem: "She told me that one of the Gupta brothers offered her the position of Minister of Public Enterprises..." 

Bloem says that Mentor did not tell him which Gupta brother made the offer. 


14 Feb 10:15

14 Feb 10:12

14 Feb 10:10

14 Feb 10:09

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo initiates proceedings. COPE spokesperson Dennis Bloem is up first, with Advocate Zinhle Buthelezi leading evidence.


14 Feb 10:01

14 Feb 09:47

IPID boss Robert McBride expected to blow the whistle on capture of law enforcement agencies at Zondo commission

Claims of attempts to capture the SA Police Service, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) are expected to take centre stage on Thursday when IPID boss Robert McBride testifies before the state capture commission of inquiry.

McBride, former Hawks head Anwa Dramat and former Gauteng Hawks boss Shadrack Sibiya separately held meetings with the commission's investigators last week and last month.

In September, TimesLIVE reported that state capture inquiry commissioners were to be briefed about a secret police death squad trained in offensive warfare and which was possibly involved in political assassinations, break-ins and harassment during the Zuma presidency. 

The sensational claims were made by McBride, who discussed what evidence he could present on the police's role in aiding and covering up state capture.


14 Feb 09:47

ICYMI: 

Bosasa scandal: ANC knew of 'havoc' and they did nothing, Dennis Bloem tells Zondo commission 

Cope spokesperson and former ANC Member of Parliament Dennis Bloem on Friday laid bare Parliament's inability to provide proper oversight of the corruption-plagued Department of Correctional Services.

He also told the judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture, led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, how the ANC was acutely aware of many MPs' concerns about the department's arrangements and deals with controversial service provider Bosasa, but did nothing.

His testimony was delivered shortly after the marathon examination by the commission of allegations by former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi, who told Zondo how Bosasa scored hundreds of millions of rand by bribing officials, including ministers and senior government functionaries. 


14 Feb 09:47

ICYMI: 

Masutha looking to extricate his department from Bosasa contracts 

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha has revealed that he will be looking at prospects to extricate his department from its Bosasa contracts.

"If we take Bosasa as a starting point, I repeatedly asked the management of correctional services, how did we end up being in a situation where we have had to use virement [the process of transferring items from one financial account to another] year in, year out to fund this outsourced service?" he said at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) headquarters in Tshwane on Friday.

He was speaking at a briefing to introduce the newly appointed National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), advocate Shamila Batohi, to NPA staff and management. 


14 Feb 09:47

ICYMI: 

Deputy correctional services minister wants to appear before state capture commission 

Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Thabang Makwetla says he has asked to appear before the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

"I have submitted a request to appear before the commission. I trust that this application will be granted," Makwetla said in a statement on Wednesday.

"This is not because my name has been mentioned in the commission's proceedings, however, it has always been my conviction to make a modest contribution towards efforts to arrest the threat of a backward slide in our national transformation project."

All those who believe in the devastation corruption could lead to, and its incompatibility with development and freedom, must do everything to ensure that the commission succeeds, he continued. 


14 Feb 09:47

ICYMI: 

Holy cow! Bank statements reveal how Free State government paid Guptas over R330m for Estina dairy farm 

Bank statements show that the Free State government paid R334 202 652 over less than two years, from July 2014 to April 2016, to Indian company Estina.

Netwerk24 reported on Tuesday that the statements show the Guptas' involvement in the Vrede dairy scheme was far greater than previously suspected.

The bank statements show that the Free State Department of Agriculture paid the money over to Estina in amounts of up to R50m at a time.

The statements are for Estina's Standard Bank account, held at the Bedford Gardens branch, under account number 310864860.

Estina was supposed to run the Vrede dairy farm on behalf of the department. 


14 Feb 09:47

ICYMI: 

#StateCaptureInquiry: Vytjie Mentor insists records were tampered with 

If it was decided that Vytjie Mentor's evidence before the state capture commission of inquiry was inadmissible, what would her response be?

This was the question which commission chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, asked Mentor on Tuesday.

"One of the things that maybe someone will say is South African Airways (SAA ) records were put up and you had issues, Home Affairs records were put up and you had issues with them, cellphone records are put up and you have issues with them.

"Someone might say you have [an] issue with all the records and I therefore should not accept your version of events, what would you say to that?" Zondo asked.

In response, Mentor suggested that there was a possibility that records may have been tampered with. 


14 Feb 09:47

ICYMI: 

#StateCaptureInquiry: Vytjie Mentor questions her role as a witness 

Former ANC parliamentarian Vytjie Mentor on Tuesday expressed concern about her role as a witness at the Zondo commission into state capture, saying she felt that she had only been presented with information by legal teams cross-examining her that does not corroborate her version of events.

"For the better part of me being on the witness stand I have felt that I have had to deal, in vain, with issues that are not corroborating, in any way, my version before you, I have felt that all the time.

"I have been made to feel like my role as a witness is to explain and deal with whatever that does not corroborate anything. Whatever that has corroborated has not been put to me," she said to chair of the commission Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. 


14 Feb 09:47

ICYMI: 

REVEALED: Zizi Kodwa and his Bosasa BFF 

Zizi Kodwa, head of President Cyril Ramaphosa's office at Luthuli House, is a close friend and associate of Bosasa's flashy spin doctor and director, Papa Leshabane.

A series of photos from Leshabane's Facebook account reveal the proximity between him and one of Ramaphosa's closest advisers. Both men confirmed they have been friends for more than a decade.

Leshabane and other Bosasa executives, including CEO Gavin Watson, have been directly implicated in Bosasa's reign of corruption at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

In a secret video recording exposed by former henchman Angelo Agrizzi, Leshabane is seen holding a bag of cash which, according to Agrizzi, was used to bribe correctional services officials and journalists. 



14 Feb 09:47

ICYMI: 

Agrizzi 'wants to finish' what he started at Zondo commission - lawyer 

Ex-Bosasa boss turned whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi is not going to let his arrest this week stop him from continuing his testimony before the state capture commission of inquiry.

According to his lawyer, Daniel Witz of Witz Attorneys, Agrizzi wants to finish what he started, despite being hauled before the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria this week on charges of money laundering and fraud.

Agrizzi, together with former Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder, former Bosasa senior staffer Frans Vorster, current Bosasa employee Carlos Bonifacio and former correctional services top brass Patrick Gillingham and Linda Mti were also arrested and charged.

The charges, which include numerous counts of violating the Public Finance Management Act and contravening the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, stem from a decade-old Special Investigating Unit report handed over to the NPA in 2009, which found an improper and corrupt relationship existed between Bosasa, Gillingham and Mti. 

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