Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo File picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo File picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)

Denel manager instructed to recommend Gupta-linked firm, Zondo inquiry told

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Oct 29, 2020

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Johannesburg – The commission of inquiry probing allegations of state capture on Thursday heard that Denel bosses instructed a manager in one of its divisions to prepare justification for the appointment of a Gupta-owned company.

Martin Drevin, Denel Land Systems (DLS) programme manager responsible for phase two of the Hoefyster project, told the commission that he was asked to prepare justification for single source appointment of Gupta-owned VR Laser to supply armour steel components, among others.

Drevin said this was done despite a significant gap existing between VR Laser and LMT Holdings, of which the state-owned aerospace and military technology company held 51%.

According to Drevin, he wanted a supplier that was chosen to be open-ended and he was trying to avoid recommending VR Laser when he sent his motivation.

”I did not feel comfortable recommending a specific supplier. It was a good idea to go out to tender,” he said.

In his testimony, Drevin said VR Laser would also supply all fabricated steel services and goods, hulls, fighting compartment module and fabricated armour steel structures.

Asked by evidence leader Paul Kennedy SC if he knew that the contract went to tender as former DLS supply chain management executive Celia Malahlela had suggested, Drevin responded: “I don’t know if it went out to tender but I doubt”.

He said his boss then used his motivation to appoint VR Laser and he was surprised by the extent of the agreement.

VR Laser scored deals worth over R516 million from Denel Vehicle Systems, DLS and LMT Holdings between 2003 and 2017.

The commission continues.

Political Bureau

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