Picture: Masi Losi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - The Zondo commission is this morning expected to hear testimony from former Denel CEO Riaz Saloojee.

The inquiry is on its third day of probing allegations of state capture at the state-owned arms manufacturer. 

Saloojee was fired in 2016 by Denel's new board a few months after he was suspended in September 2015. 

The board was appointed by former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown in July 2015 and saw an almost complete overhaul of directors who sat on the board. Only one member was retained. 

Two months after taking over, the new board threw suspension letters on Saloojee, Denel's chief financial officer Fikile Mhlontlo and company secretary Elizabeth Africa. 

They were accused of presiding over irregularities at the company, but no charges were brought against them. 

Saloojee was eventually fired in April 2016, a year before his contract was set to end, without facing a hearing.

His testimony at the commission is expected to focus on his premature departure. It was also speculated at the time that his firing was linked to his refusal on the Denel Asia joint venture with VR Laser.

On Tuesday, the commission heard from the former chairperson of a previous Denel board, appointed in 2010, who spoke highly of her board's performance and the relationship with the executive including Saloojee. 

Martie van Rensburg said the Denel Asia deal was not going benefit Denel and instead VR Laser would have benefited from the deal. 


"It did not make commercial sense or strategic sense," said van Rensburg. 

The commission also heard from a former VR Laser director and shareholder, Benny Jiyane. Jiyane told the commission how he was pushed out and forced to sell his shares shortly after the Guptas took over a majority stake in VR Laser. 

The inquiry starts at 9:30 am.