Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo chairs the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - The Zondo commission will this morning continue hearing evidence on state capture allegations at state-owned arms manufacturer Denel. 

On Monday, the commission dealt briefly with the controversial Denel Asia deal. 
 
The creation of Denel Asia was set to be a joint venture between Denel and VR Laser Asia, a company controlled by Gupta-linked Salim Essa. The company was meant to be a vehicle for Denel to sell arms to India. 

On Tuesday, the commission will hear more on the controversial deal when former Denel board chairperson Martie van Rensburg and former VR Lazer shareholder Benny Jiyane take the stand. 

On Monday, the inquiry heard from public enterprises deputy director general Kgathatso Tlhakudi. 

He said former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown appointed a questionable board for Denel which failed to meet targets. 

Tlhakudi told the commission how he was asked to "rubber stamp" a list of new board members for Denel which included state captured linked individuals such as Daniel Mantsha.

Mantsha was appointed as chairperson of the board in 2015 and Tlhakudi said he was surprised by his addition to the list of potential board members as he was not qualified for the job. He also said he had concerns as Mantsha had previously been struck off the roll of attorneys. 

“Mantsha was at some point struck off the roll of attorneys. That doesn’t seem to be a good background to bring to chair an entity like Denel.

Tlhakudi said he was also surprised how Brown had completely changed the board as he believed the previous board that served before 2015 had done stellar work and achieved targets. 

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The DDG also told the commission how Denel's success had declined over the years after the board led by Mantsha took over. 

He said this board failed to meet targets in its first year. 

"In the first year of the new board being in control of this entity, they did not meet their corporate plan and the following year, the revenues almost halved. The current board that we have at Denel is still having to deal with the repercussions of the era that has just passed."

The inquiry starts at 9.30am.

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