Gigaba spat gets uglier and a Prasa blame game: Here’s what happened at the Zondo Commission this week
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As the deadline for the end of the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture looms closer, there were only two days of oral evidence this week.
Former minister of finance Malusi Gigaba returned to the commission answering questions related to evidence given by his estranged wife, Norma Mngoma.
The ugly spat between the two reached a new low this week when Gigaba revealed Mngoma had a secret fiancé that left her a huge inheritance.
He said when the couple first met, Mngoma presented herself as a wealthy woman who inherited a handsome sum of money and assets from her late father who lived in New York.
“Even the life she lives now shows there is money there,” he said.
However, he told the commission some time last year he found out that Mngoma inherited her wealth from her late fiancé who lived in South Africa and died in 2010.
He told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that Mngoma’s evidence could not be trusted and that she was a liar as she also lied to him for more than a decade.
“She lied to me for over a decade. She concealed this from me,” Gigaba said.
He claimed Mngoma was coached before her testimony to the commission and she told him she was receiving pressure from political forces to give evidence at the Inquiry and destroy him politically.
He denied Mngoma’s narrative that he was heavily influenced by the Guptas while he held ministerial positions, organised jobs for his sisters with the Guptas and in the government, or that he funded their lavish lifestyle with money given to him by the Guptas.
He said Mngoma’s version of events was based on the stitching together of timelines and allegations reported in the media through the years.
On Tuesday, the commission heard evidence from Prasa employees, Martha Ngoye and Tiro Holele.
The duo denied allegations that they were at the heart of a corrupt multibillion-rand deal for the procurement of locomotives.
Prasa’s former chief executive Lucky Montana previously made lengthy submissions to the commission of inquiry into state capture that Ngoye and Holele were to blame for the R3.5 billion Swifambo contract.
In the 2013 deal, Swifambo Rails was awarded the R3.5bn tender for the procurement of locomotives.
Prasa paid R2.6bn for the contract, but only 13 of 88 locomotives were delivered and they were too tall for local infrastructure.
This deal remains one of the most explosive deals to come out of Montana’s tenure as group chief executive.
He denied approving the Swifambo deal and told the commission that the board approved it upon recommendation from the Bid Adjudication Committee on which he alleged Holele and Ngoye sat on.
However, Holele and Ngoye told the commission that they were never part of any such meeting and that the “so-called” minutes of the meeting, placing them there, were fabricated.
Both Ngoye and Holele claimed Montana lied to the commission about his alleged disciplinary actions against them, his lack of signing powers on deals of more than R100m and their alleged involvement in the corrupt contracts.
Holele said Montana had a “dictatorial approach to leadership” that was borderline paranoia.
He said Montana was one of the many leaders who bullied employees if they did not follow his shady instructions.