Tiro Holele testifying at the State Capture inquiry. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha /African News Agency(ANA)
Tiro Holele testifying at the State Capture inquiry. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha /African News Agency(ANA)

Zondo commission hears about Roy Moodley's power, knowledge on Cabinet changes

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Mar 11, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Zondo commission has heard evidence about the power wielded by a politically connected businessman Roy Moodley who had inside knowledge of Cabinet changes before the government made an announcement. 

The inquiry heard evidence from former general manager at Prasa, Tiro Holele. He had served as a manager in former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana's office. 

There have been many reports on Roy Moodley and his connections to the ANC and tender contracts issued by Prasa. He made headlines after it was revealed that his company had been making monthly "salary" payments to former president Jacob Zuma. 

These payments were allegedly not declared to the SA Revenue Service (SARS) and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhhwebane is investigating a complaint related to the matter. 

Holele said he was called into a meeting by a woman called Nerishni Shunmugam, who worked at Prodigy Business Solutions. This company had, at the time, been in a legal dispute with Prasa and had claimed the state-owned entity owed it about R24 million. Prodigy was providing training Prasa staff at the time and Moodley had an interest in the company. 

Holele said Shunmugam had insisted that the meeting take place outside of the offices of Prasa, a request that Holele refused to entertain. Shunmugam had wanted the meeting to be held outside of Prasa for Holele's protection. 

He insisted that they had to meet at Prasa. When the meeting day arrived, Holele said he was shocked to find Moodley there instead of Shunmugam. The meeting took place in February 2017. Prasa's head of compliance Jacob Rakgoathe had also joined the meeting. 

Holele said he knew of Moodley and the supposed power he had at Prasa. Moodley would be attending various events held by the organisation and spent a lot of time at its offices even though he never worked there. Moodley's  presence at Prasa was unusual and no other service provider acted in that manner. 

"I knew that through this contract he was involved in it. I knew he had a security company and the manner he would interact with the business was very forceful. He would be having meetings and you would see him at all sorts functions held at Prasa," Holele said. 

Holele said Moodley was forceful in the meeting and threatened him and Rakgoathe  that they needed to be on the right side of history as there would be changes in the cabinet.  

"He said guys (to Holele and Rakgoathe) you know that Prasa owes us (Prodigy) money and we need that money. Prasa owed the company around R24 million I think. He said there would be big changes in the cabinet. He said when those changes happen the young man (Mr Montana would come back as group CEO)."

Montana had at the time resigned as CEO of Prasa following allegations of corruption. Following Moodley's warning, former president Jacob Zuma announced a cabinet reshuffle, in April 2017, which saw then minister Dipuo Peters being replaced by ANC MP backbencher Joe Maswanganyi. 

Holele said the meeting with Moodley ended in a stalemate and no agreement on Prasa making the payment requested by the businessman. 

"He insisted that the payment must be done."

The commission will next hear the evidence of former Prasa board chairperson Popo Molefe. 

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