Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.  Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA).
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA).

LIVE FEED: State capture inquiry, February 12, 2020

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Feb 12, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Zondo commission will on Wednesday morning continue hearing evidence related to state-owned airline South African Airways Technical (SAAT). 

Businessman Vuyo  Ndzeku, who was initially set to testify on Tuesday, is also expected to take the stand. His name has been mentioned in the questioning of Nontsasa Memela, the  former head of procurement at SAAT. 

Memela is also expected to face cross-examination from her legal representative after she concludes her evidence. 

On Tuesday, Memela faced tough questions on whether it was ethical for the SAAT board to visit the headquarters of US-based aviation company AAR Corporation in May 2015. 

At the time of the trip, SAAT had issued a tender to procure components. AAR was one of several companies that had applied for the tender. In May 2015 the tender process was still open as it had been issued in later 2014. 

The inquiry heard last week that Memela along with other board members were invited to visit AAR's Chicago and Miami offices. The visit took place from May 4-9th. 

Advocate Kate Hofmyer, the evidence leader for the commission, questioned Memela on her thoughts on the trip and whether the rules of SAAT and tenders had allowed for the company to interact with bidders while the tender process was still open. 


"I am not the advisor of the board. The decision to go to the AAR was taken by SAA and then moved to SAAT board. There was a partnership framework that was talked about at SAAT since 2012. They were going to discuss that. I was only informed on the day that we were going on the trip. Their reasoning for including me on the trip to make sure that AAR doesn't talk about anything outside of the partnership framework," Memela said. 

Last week, it was brought to light that Memela had purchased a property in Bedfordview for R3.8 million. Of the total amount owed R2.5 million was paid by JM Aviation towards Memela's property. When asked about the transfers, Memela explained that there was nothing untoward about the payment. 

She claimed that JM Aviation director Vuyo Ndzeku had in fact purchased land from her mother and it was decided that instead of the funds being paid to her mother they would go towards her Bedfordview property purchase. 

JM Aviation along with US-based AAR Corporation were awarded a components tender worth over a billion rand by SAAT.

"I started looking for a property here in Joburg. The deposit was needed. Some came from my husband's pension fund and some from my mother's land purchase. The deal was between Mr Ndzeku and my mother. My mother sold the two properties to Mr Ndzeku. Open Water never gave me an opportunity to state my side of the story about the purchase of my property," Memela said. 


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