Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo addressed the media on the extension of the lifespan of the commission. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency(ANA).
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo addressed the media on the extension of the lifespan of the commission. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency(ANA).

Zondo commission to hear Transnet and SAA related evidence

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Feb 4, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Zondo commission will hear evidence related to Transnet and South African Airways on Tuesday morning.

First on the stand will be Transnet senior manager for stakeholder relations, Daniel Kagiso Phatlane. 

The inquiry will then hear evidence from former SAA CEO and board chairperson Vuyisile Kona. 

A week ago, the commission heard from Transnet’s internal communications specialist Joseph Frank who explained how he faced pressure from his manager to ensure that Transnet’s advertising spend was spent on TNA. 

The state capture inquiry has previously heard evidence from officials of other SOEs such as Eskom who explained how millions were spent on sponsoring TNA. 

SOEs paid for adverts in the now defunct-newspaper and some sponsored its business breakfasts which were broadcast live on SABC’s Morning Live.

Frank’s evidence focused on a sponsorship deal signed between Transnet and TNA which saw the SOE pay close to R2 million (R327 0000 every month) over six months for its company name to be printed in a story profile page called “The Interview”. Frank said, “The Interview” was a weekly feature in TNA which profiled various prominent individuals.

He said Transnet’s marketing and communication unit was approached by a Mr Roux from TNA who proposed the sponsorship deal to Transnet. 

He said the SOE would get a logo of its name, a strip advert and naming rights for the page as part of the deal. 

Frank explained that the agency advising Transnet on its ad spend had been apprehensive about spending R2 million on the sponsorship. It did not have value for money for Transnet and TNA had no ABC numbers which would be used to track a newspaper’s market reach across the country.

"What made it hard is that we could not test the reach of this newspaper,” Frank said. He explained that his manager Mr Sigonyela insisted that the deal should be finalised.

"I was suspicious because the advice received said it was not a good idea to support the sponsorship. We were putting the spending of this money at risk."

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