Roy Moodley told Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa in a 2017 meeting that he held a top position in the country and that the state-owned enterprise was going to see changes that everyone had to be on good terms with, the Zondo commission heard on Wednesday.
The commission of inquiry into state capture, which is currently hearing testimony pertaining to affairs at the rail agency, heard from interim CEO of Prasa subsidiary Autopax Tiro Holele, who was the first witness, as well as Jacob Rakgoathe, General Manager of Group Compliance at Prasa.
Moodley, the Durban-based businessman and associate of former president Jacob Zuma, allegedly told officials in the March 2017 meeting that he was "one of the top 15 decision makers in the country" and that he had influence over the appointment of executives in South Africa's SOEs.
This was according to Rakgoathe, who said: "At the tail end of the meeting [Moodley] then mentioned that he was part of the top 15 or 17 of the decision makers.
"Their decision-making involved appointments or looking at nominations for the CEO of state-owned enterprises."
In this instance, said Rakgoathe, the decision to be taken by Moodley and others involved the reinstatement of former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana, about whom Moodley allegedly said: "The young man could be coming back."
According to both Holele and Ragoathe, those attending the meeting were told that "changes were coming" and that there would be consequences for those who did not agree with the changes.
'I didn't know the extent of his powers'
"I didn’t know the extent of his powers but when he mentioned that… he was probably informing us that understand that changes were coming and that and we must be on the right side," said Rakgoathe, who said he was unaware of Moodley until he read investigative journalist Jacques Pauw's book The President’s Keepers – Those keeping Zuma in power and out of prison.
Holele said that shortly after the meeting in which the employees were addressed by Moodley, there was a Cabinet reshuffle.
Rakgoathe further testified that Prasa employees also saw those who were on the wrong side of the "change", and Montana, suffer consequences.
'Attempt of abuse'
Popo Molefe, who was the Chairman of the board of Prasa at the time, also appeared as a witness before the commission. According to Molefe, there were attempts to prevent the board from doing its job ethically.
"We as the board rejected an attempt of abuse of office by the executive authorities to muzzle the board and prevent it from doing what was right in instructing its financial interests," said Molefe.
The former chair was also allegedly urged by Zuma to reinstate Montana, but he did not give in.
Molefe will continue with his testimony on Thursday at the Zondo Commission.