Zondo Commission: 5 of the most explosive testimonies we've heard so far

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Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
  • The commission of inquiry into state capture is currently in its third year, hearing testimony from South Africa's political elites.
  • News24 went back in time to dig out the most explosive testimony the commission has heard so far.
  • The latest testimony comes from ex-minister Malusi Gigaba's former driver.

1) Driving Mr Gigaba, Molefe, Gama and the money bags

Thursday saw gripping testimony from ex-public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba's former driver, who told the chair of the commission of inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that he believed Gigaba's tailored suits were paid for with Gupta family money.

Fin24 reported that the driver, who remained anonymous, worked on Gigaba's security team in 2013.

"At some point, the minister would carry large sums of cash with him… one day, I was with the minister when he opened the boot of his official vehicle to take out money to buy lunch for us.

"Inside the boot there was a bag which he opened, and there was a bundle of cash in it, in R200 notes," the witness told the commission, saying he later realised this was money directly from the Guptas.

Two other drivers of former Transnet executives Brian Molefe and Siyabonga Gama also presented astonishing testimony, detailing clandestine exchanges of money bags between the executives and who they believed were Gupta associates.

The two described sports bags and suitcases filled with cash being collected from the Gupta compound in Saxonwold, in northern Johannesburg.

Molefe's driver explained how he was ordered to deliver money bags to Ajay Gupta, how he drove Molefe to meetings at the Gupta-owned properties, saying Molefe would sometimes emerge from these meetings with a light brown leather bag.

READ | Brian Molefe: Nothing wrong with my visits to Gupta home

The witness said Gama was also involved in the clandestine transfer of cash, saying he was sent to collect and drop off parcels, some filled with money, multiple times to Salim Essa.

"I observed him splitting the cash in two. I presume it could have been around R1 million. He later handed me R50 000," the witness said.

2) Des van Rooyen's special advisor

On Tuesday, News24 reported that former finance minister Des van Rooyen appointed his special advisor after just one meeting, without seeing his CV.

While Van Rooyen was finance minister in 2015, he appointed Mohamed Bobat as his special advisor.

They had only met once before at a restaurant in 2009 while he was doing some outreach activities in the North West, the commission heard.

READ | 'Weekend Special': Former finance minister Des van Rooyen to testify at Zondo commission

"I got into the restaurant and greeted everybody. He introduced himself to me on my way out and gave me his business card. I kept the business card and, when I had challenges with my studies, I started communicating with him when there [was] a need," he explained to the commission on Tuesday.

In December 2015, when Van Rooyen was set to be sworn in as finance minister, he made contact with the man.

"On the 8th [of December], after the meeting with the president, I thought who can I bring to support? I already decided that I was going to trace this man because I really needed him to come in and join me," Van Rooyen told the commission.

The commission had previously heard testimony from the National Treasury's former director-general Lungisa Fuzile, who said Bobat had introduced himself to Van Rooyen, ahead of his swearing-in ceremony, held at the Union Buildings. However, Van Rooyen disputes this and insists he is the one who introduced the men, after the ceremony.

"I said there is a due process that must be followed to confirm that you [Bobat] are suitable and the DG is going to help me, so I will introduce you and that is what happened, he accepted my offer."

3) Barbara Hogan hung out to dry by Zuma

In November 2018, former public enterprise minister Barbara Hogan told the commission that former president Jacob Zuma hung her out to dry as she faced immense pressure to appoint Siyabonga Gama as Transet CEO.

Hogan said Zuma wanted Gama in the position, despite him facing allegations of misconduct.

"It actually shook me," Hogan told Zondo.

Hogan said the pressure was "extreme" and that she had been labelled "an anti-transformation racist" during an NEC and alliance meeting.

The then-ministers Siphiwe Nyanda and Jeff Radebe supported Gama becoming CEO, and said he was being persecuted as Zuma had been.

4) Agrizzi vs Bosasa

In 2019, former CFO of the controversial ANC-linked company Bosasa, provided a turning point for the commission, dropping bombshells which implicated senior politicians, ANC MPs, journalists and union officials.

Angelo Agrizzi said Bosasa had colluded with state senior officials for over 10 years in tender corruption, which saw the company score lucrative contracts with government.

Agrizzi also said confidential National Prosecuting Authority documents had been leaked to Bosasa, particularly its CEO Gavin Watson, by the former correction services commissioner, Linda Mti.

5) Conspiracies to remove Zuma

Zuma's testimony at the commission was arguably the most anticipated, having been implicated by numerous witnesses.

In 2019, he took the stand, diving into a history lesson going back to the 1990s.

Zuma told Zondo he believed there had been a long-running conspiracy to remove him, adding he had received an intelligence report detailing intelligence organisations which had met to discuss him.

ALSO READ | Jacob Zuma was 'very loyal to the friendship he had with Gupta family' - Mo Shaik tells state capture inquiry

These organisation started a mission of "character assassination" against him, Zuma said, because of the "information that he holds".

Zuma also told the commission he was not happy with its establishment, saying he had some issues with the way things were handled when the Public Protector recommended it.

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