Johannesburg - Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina and former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni have been accused of having illegally implemented jobs deals at the airline to favour certain black-owned companies and members of Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA).
This was one damning piece of evidence heard during the testimony of Thuli Mpshe - former SAA acting chief executive - who was testifying before the commission of inquiry probing state capture headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
On Monday, the commission heard that Masina - while deputy minister of trade and industry in 2015 - signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Myeni to force all companies doing business with SAA to allocate 30% of their individual deals to certain black-owned companies and MK military veterans.
Mpshe told the commission that the MoU between Masina and Myeni indicated that the national airline had a R10billion procurement and goods and services budget, 30% of which had to be allocated to identified companies.
“There were no guidelines. At the time, the Department of Trade and Industry did not revise our BEE policy. It had not been signed into law. We were just told we had to implement this in all our transactions,” Mpshe said.
She told the commission that Myeni and SAA head of audit and risk Yakhe Kwinana - a chartered accountant - undertook several roadshows around the country. The commission also heard that the two determined who should be invited to those roadshows.
Mpshe said the implementation of the MoU followed soon after former president Jacob Zuma announced in his state of the nation address in February 2015 that 30% of state procurement would be allocated to black businesses.
“It was not yet law of the country, but Myeni and Masina implemented it,” Mpshe said.
The commission also heard how a meeting between SAA executives and members of the MKMVA national leadership - led by the then deputy minister of defence and military veterans, Kebby Maphatsoe - and Des van Rooyen nearly degenerated into chaos.
Mpshe said her team was explaining to MKMVA the requirements that they had to meet to do business with SAA, but Myeni allegedly intervened and showed her disapproval of their explanation.
“The chair intervened and said: ‘These people died for us. Why don’t you tell them what is the budget for jet fuel at SAA and not give this explanation on requirements. The people have died and suffered’,” Mpshe said.
She said as a result of the 30% allocation, various black-owned companies and other firms which had BEE ratings lodged formal complaints with the BEE commissioner, Zodwa Ntuli.
“Commissioner Ntuli wrote a formal letter to SAA informing us that what we were doing was illegal, and asked us to stop it. I forwarded commissioner Ntuli’s letter to the executives and board.
“I also had a discussion with the board chair about Ntuli’s letter. In her reply, she said: ‘I do not have anything to do with that woman (Ntuli). I have a deal with the deputy minister (Masina)’,” Mpshe said.
Earlier, the commission heard how Kwinana tried to block the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse from lodging an inquiry into her conduct or filing a delinquent director application for her alleged role in the appointment of law firms and audit companies to fire certain senior executives perceived to be undermining Myeni and her.
Mpshe’s testimony continues.