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Facing questions over R2m payment, Dudu Myeni's son suffers memory lapse

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Feb 17, 2020

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Johannesburg - Former SA Airways (SAA) board chairperson Dudu Myeni's son couldn't provide the Zondo commission with any records linking or explaining a R2 million payment made to his company by a consultancy firm in June 2015. 

Thalente Cyril Myeni appeared at the inquiry on Monday. He is the sole member of a company called Premier Attraction 1016. Myeni struggled to answer questions about the type of projects his company has done over the years. He also could not tell the commission how many people he had employed. "I cannot recall" became a standard response for Myeni as the commission's evidence leader Advocate Kate Hofmeyr asked him questions regarding his company. 

"It does consulting work in various areas such as property development and hospitality and events. The turnover has fluctuated over the years and some years have been better than others. There's no constant standard amount of staff that is around and sometimes we subcontract. I cannot say chair, we would employee people on a project basis," he said. 

The commission's questions related to an R2 million payment that was received by Premier Attraction in June 2015. When asked about the payment he said it was for project consultancy work that his company had conducted in Mpumalanga with VNA Consultancy. Myeni said VNA was the main contractor in a housing project and his company was only a subcontractor. 

Myeni could not give clear details on what exactly his company  provided for the project but said that it involved design for the housing development in Mpumalanga. 

"We were involved in a private housing development in Mpumalanga and we did some consulting work and we received that payment for work done. It was a project to build housing for government workers. And they would then be assisted to buy those properties. In that area, there was a shortage of properties in that area. I forgot the exact area in Mpumalanga. I do not think it had a specific name for the project. 

"Mostly design work for the actual houses. There was a lot of people working on the project from VNA Consulting and Premier Attraction. I dealt with a 'Narsai' from VNA Consultancy," Mynei told the commission. 

It is important to note that the payment from VNA to Premier Attraction is completely separate from payments made by Myeni's company to Isibonelo. Evidence leaders have not at this point linked the two together in any way other than saying that payments to Isibonelo were made after the R2 million payment was made to Premier Attractions. 

Hofmeyr pushed Myeni on his lack of memory; "I find it hard to comprehend that your company was paid R2 million for a scope of services you cannot remember?"

"We compiled our work in 2015 - five years. I do a lot of transactions I cannot remember an R2 million transaction. It would have been for consulting work around the top structure of the houses," Myeni said. 

Myeni also faced questions regarding three payments, totalling R3 million, that were made by Premier Attractions to a company called Isibonelo Constructions in 2015 and 2016 . The first payment was made in October 2015 with a payment of R1 million. A second was made in December 2015 of an amount just over R1 million and third payment was made in 2016. Myeni told the commission that the payments were part of business transactions but that he has no record of the work performed. 

"In respect to Isibonelo, the transactions were business transactions. I have no record of the nature of the transactions. I have no record of the business made with the said company due to the passage of time," he said

Hofmeyr told Myeni that a witness, who will be referred to as Mr X to protect his identity, would provide contrary evidence that states that Isibonelo and Premier Attraction had no business dealings when the payments were made in 2015. The witness will testify that one of the payments made by Premier Attractions was made to the Jacob Zuma Foundation.

Myeni responded that the witness's account is inaccurate. 

Hofmeyr had earlier broke down in tears as she explained to the commission that threats on the witness's life, and against the lives of his family, were investigated by the commission's security personel and were deemed to be real. 

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