Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

#StateCaptureInquiry: Mind games, blackmail and SAA

By Loyiso sidimba Time of article published Jun 29, 2019

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Johannesburg - Former acting SAA chief procurement officer Dr Masimba Dahwa on Friday revealed how the airline’s ex-chairperson Dudu Myeni allegedly tried to blackmail him into awarding a lucrative contract without following proper procedures.

Dahwa told the commission of inquiry into state capture that Myeni and former non-executive director Yakhe Kwinana wanted him to award the contract to a pre-selected entity but his conscience prevented him from signing the letter awarding the deal.

“They were trying to play with my mind.

"It was a psychology game,” he said.

Dahwa said Gemicon and Quintessential Business Consulting were the two companies that were to be awarded 30% shares in the lucrative contracts to Swissport and Engen respectively.

According to Dahwa, he went to then acting SAA chief executive Thuli Mpshe but she also refused to sign and told Myeni and Kwinana that he (Dahwa) was not going to sign because of his conscience.

He said he did not want to append his signature because of his conscience.

“I was basically held at ransom,” Dahwa said.

Mpshe told Dahwa that if he contended that signing the letter was wrong then he should not sign it.

Despite the pressure from Myeni and Kwinana, Dahwa insisted that he would not break the law.

“For me it was about protecting the company,” he said.

Dahwa said he asked Kwinana how a contract would be awarded to a pre-selected entity.

“You can’t go around dishing out tenders,” he said.

During the meeting, Dahwa said, Myeni appeared to threaten him, telling him that no South Africans held the position in Zimbabwe, where he was born.

Myeni also warned Dahwa that the EFF would come to protest at SAA because there was no transformation at the national carrier because of people like him, while Kwinana talked about taking him and Mpshe to a disciplinary hearing.

He said giving a 30% share of the procurement budget to previously disadvantaged, women, youth and military veterans had become a big issue at SAA but it was difficult and impossible to implement without rules and regulations.

Dahwa said it was not possible because it would be in breach of procurement processes.

The department of trade and industry’s BEE Commission warned SAA that it was not in a position to legally proceed with the 30% set aside initiative.

In September 2015, the BEE Commission wanted written confirmation that it would not proceed without authorisation.

Dahwa said the National Treasury had also warned SAA against operating outside the procurement legal framework and that the national carrier needed to stop the 30% set aside initiative with immediate effect.

Earlier, BnP Capital director Daniel Mahlangu concluded his evidence, defending the R50 million success fee the company demanded from SAA after its contract to raise R15 billion as part of its debt consolidation plan in 2015, was cancelled.

Mahlangu said the cancellation fee was a standard practice in the financial services industry.

Mahlangu told the commission chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that he was not aware that the SAA board had approved the increase of its success fee from 1% to 1.5%, which would have netted his company a further R37.5m.

Political Bureau

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