State Capture Inquiry hears of multi-million rand kickbacks
Johannesburg - Three top ANC leaders were promised up to R30million in kickbacks after SA Express was awarded a dodgy deal to revive two North West airports by the provincial government.
Explosive evidence was presented at the commission of inquiry into state capture on Saturday by Koreneka Trading and Projects director Babadi Tlatsana, in which she identified ANC leaders Dipuo Peters and Lynne Brown, former transport and public enterprises ministers, respectively, as well as erstwhile North West premier Supra Mahumapelo as having been lined up as beneficiaries of R69m in payments.
The payments were made to Tlatsana’s company by the state-owned airline and the provincial community safety and transport management department.
At the centre of the deal was former SA Express general manager for commercial Brian van Wyk, who Tlatsana accused of hijacking her company with accountant David Kalisilira to channel millions of rands to ANC politicians, the governing party, senior government officials and Van Wyk’s life partner Sipho Phiri, among others.
“The business was hijacked in the beginning because lots of things were happening,” Tlatsana told the commission chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
She said Van Wyk was a very arrogant person, a bully and that she was told to do as he told her.
“If I complained he would say he would report me to the ANC people,” Tlatsana testified.
She took the commission through recordings she made of a meeting with Van Wyk in January 2016 soon after the provincial community safety and transport management department paid Koreneka R20m.
“Van Wyk was very desperate for the R20m paid in December 2015,” said Tlatsana.
Van Wyk, she testified, already had plans to share the R20m equally between Peters and Brown, who were his priorities, and that the two former ministers had already been paid R5m.
However, Tlatsana continued, the R20m was short of R5m, which Van Wyk had earmarked for Mahumapelo despite the former ANC North West chairperson requiring R10m.
Tlatsana said Mahumapelo had already been paid R5m and Van Wyk insisted that it was all he was getting as there were also “boys of number one of the province (Mahumapelo)” as he was not working alone.
In the recordings, Van Wyk informed Tlatsana that former community safety and transport management department MEC Oageng Molapisi, the department’s then head Bailey Mahlakoleng and chief financial officer Kutlwano Phatudi were also getting kickbacks.
“Without these people nothing will go, these are the people who will give us the contract,” Van Wyk told Tlatsana, motivating for the kickbacks.
The politicians were to receive once-off payments, with Molapisi getting R700 000 and Mahlakoleng R500 000, Tlatsana said.
Van Wyk, Mahlakoleng and Phatudi would share between R3m and R5m every year for the duration of the five-year contract while Tlatsana would get R2m annually.
He said Mahlakoleng and Phatudi were critical because they could decide to increase the subsidy by R18m to make it R69m.
SA Express had already paid R31m to Koreneka while another R20m came from the community safety and transport department to Tlatsana’s company.
Tlatsana also testified that Van Wyk demanded that she donate R1m to the ANC in early 2016 and she got bank account details from one of the party’s North West regional offices.
Van Wyk forced Koreneka to refund Kalisilira the R150000 he had used to buy reflector jackets for the ANC’s 104th anniversary celebrations at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng, Rustenburg.
According to Tlatsana, the total amount spent by Van Wyk and Kalisilira on the party’s 104th anniversary celebrations was R400000 and that it needed to be refunded.
She said she was unhappy about how they were doing things.
“How are we going to account for all these monies?” Tlatsana asked Van Wyk.
During her testimony on Friday, Phatudi denied asking for money from any person but Justice Zondo ordered that the matter be investigated further by the commission’s investigators.