Zondo commission undeterred by burglary; when state capture became ’more real’ for Parliament speaker
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The week started with news of a break-in at the Zondo commission offices and Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo warning that they would not be deterred or intimidated.
National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise was the first to give evidence.
Modise apologised to South Africans after admitting that Parliament only “woke up when things were really bad”.
She said it was the Constitutional Court’s ruling on upgrades at former President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead and the ’’Gupta leaks’’ – a series of emails linking ministers with state capture – that made the allegations of state capture “more real”.
Modise also acknowledged that sometimes when allegations surfaced, members of Parliament assumed it could be “politicking” and that got in the way of holding their peers accountable.
In her testimony, Modise explained how Parliament organised itself to conduct oversights.
Modise said Parliament could not have known “every little thing”, but she was grateful that the disconnect was pointed out.
ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe returned to the commission this week.
Mantashe told the commission that state capture started as “corporate capture” and that the ANC took its time to react to it because it was busy “theorising” it and then the party decided that there must be a commission into state capture.
At the meeting, the Integrity Commission told Zuma why they believed he should step down and after two hours of Zuma replying, the commission did not change its mind, the affidavit said.
At his last appearance, Mantashe said that the ANC Integrity commission recommended Zuma step down in 2013 and it was since then that the ANC suffered instability.
Former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana, who also made a return to the Commission, this time not only claimed innocence in irregular contracts at the rail agency, but has also denied any link to the Gupta family and former President Jacob Zuma.
Expert: Eskom emails
The Commission heard Eskom-related evidence from an expert witness from Quintessence Digital Forensics, Cecil Louwrens.
Louwrens told the commission that forensic analysis into Eskom suspension letters showed the creator of the documents as company secretary Suzanne Daniels.
However, Louwrens said that he could not decipher whether Daniels actually wrote the letters but the documents showed that she was listed as the creator.
In September last year, she was questioned about her knowledge on who a suspicious email address, titled “inforportal1 businessman”, belonged to.
Through the commission’s investigations, it was determined the email account was linked to Gupta associate Salim Essa.
Inspector General Setlhomamaru Dintwe
Intelligence inspector-general Setlhomamaru Dintwe has told the commission of inquiry into state capture that there was a “concerted effort”, led by former spy boss Arthur Fraser, to remove him from his position because he was investigating a number of complaints against him.
Dintwe said his problems started when he told Fraser, “out of courtesy”, that he was investigating a complaint against him which was lodged by current DA leader John Steenhuisen.
Dintwe said as he was not regarded as a person who was “malleable” and it was known that he would consider and act upon the complaints lodged without fear or favour, steps were taken to undermine his authority.
He also accused Fraser of denying a security clearance to people as a weapon against those who fought against corruption.
Fraser stripped Dintwe of his security clearance in 2018. Dintwe followed this by dragging Fraser to court to reverse his decision and also interdict him from interfering in any manner with the functions of Dintwe's office.
Dintwe told the commission that stripping him of his security clearance was equivalent to removing him from office.
Previously, Dintwe told the commission that the ministers of Police, Defence and State Security all wrote him letters to try to persuade him not to testify at the commission.
He said that the ministers accused him of giving evidence to the commission before consulting them.
But Dintwe said he told the ministers and President Cyril Ramaphosa of his actions and even gave them the evidence bundles before his testimony at the commission.
Singh fielded questions about his frequent trips to a vault holding his eight safety deposit boxes in Joburg and his numerous trips to Dubai during his tenure at Transnet.
On Friday, Singh continued playing defence and denied having a corrupt relationship with Essa and his companies Regiments and Trillian.
He further refuted claims that he gave them confidential information.
He also claimed Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama and Henk Bester of Hatch were lying about meeting Essa and the Gupta’s via Singh.