Pretoria - After weeks of wrangling over the new date and accusations that the Zondo Commission was trying to prevent Brian Molefe from completing his Eskom testimony – to protect President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan – the former Eskom chief executive has been rescheduled to testify today.
The commission is also scheduled to hold an evening session, to hear evidence from Terence Joubert and Colonel Welcome Sithembiso Mhlongo relating to allegations of corruption at the law enforcement agencies, at 4pm.
Molefe’s lawyer, Mpho Molefe, said on Sunday that the commission confirmed on Friday that his client would be allowed to complete his Eskom-related testimony before fielding questions on Transnet-related matters next week.
“We confirm that Mr Brian Molefe has been summoned to appear before the Zondo Commission from March 8 to 12 to appear mainly in respect of Transnet matters. This was unexpected as we were still waiting for the commission to arrange a date with us for Mr Molefe to complete his testimony in respect of the Eskom-related matters.
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MORIN“We then made representations to the commission, requesting the commission to allow Mr Molefe to complete his Eskom-related testimony first. The commission has now arranged with us to allow Mr Brian Molefe to appear before it on the 2nd March 2021, to complete his Eskom-related testimony,” said Molefe, from law firm Molaba Attorneys Incorporated.
He said Molefe would clarify matters related to decision-making during his tenure as the power utility’s chief executive between April 2015 and November 2016.
“One of the things that we will clarify is that Mr Molefe was not part of the decision-making in respect of the pre-payments and he didn’t find anything untowards in respects of the pre-payments. They were all aboveboard including the one made to Tegeta.”
He was referring to accusations that Molefe had paid Gupta-owned mining company, Tegeta, millions of rand in coal prepayment deals.
On Sunday, Zondo commission spokesperson Reverend Mbuyiselo Stemela confirmed that Molefe had been rescheduled to complete his Eskom-related testimony tomorrow.
“Tomorrow (Monday) it’s Matshela Koko, and after that we are scheduled to have Mr Molefe. But we will issue an advisory tomorrow because… sometimes witnesses don’t finish their testimonies, which then overlap and they need more time,” Stemela said.
Molefe’s testimony was cut short in January after it emerged that one of commission chairperson Deputy Justice Raymond Zondo’s staff members had contracted Covid-19. After Justice Zondo completed his self-quarantine and resumed work last month, the commission proceeded to hear testimony on matters related to allegations of corruption and the abuse of power for political purposes by the State Security Agency.
This triggered a complaint from Molefe’s lawyer who accused the commission of treating Molefe unfairly, a claim Stemela dismissed as baseless.
Molefe had added that his client was “in the dark” about why Justice Zondo failed to reschedule him immediately after resuming his duties.
“If they don’t, they would be compromising whatever the commission is trying to do. They would be compromising their findings. It would be up to them to decide whether they want to call him, or whether they don’t want to call him. But if they don’t call him, their findings would be compromised,” the lawyer told Pretoria News at the time.
During his testimony in January, Molefe implicated Ramaphosa and Gordhan in state capture.
He said Ramaphosa had been involved in state capture and the peddling of political influence for personal benefit.
Molefe said Ramaphosa had used his position as the country’s deputy president to protect and secure lucrative coal deals for mining giant Glencore, which later gave him a stake and appointed him chairperson.
Molefe had further testified that Gordhan had “brought back load shedding” at Eskom when the new administration took over in 2018. He did that by de-funding and forcing out skilled executives as part of a ploy to collapse the power utility and pave the way for its privatisation.
After completing his Eskom-related testimony, Molefe is expected to be grilled about decisions taken during his tenure as Transnet chief executive.
This included the acquisition of Transnet’s 1064 locomotives, including the relocation of the operations of China North Rail and Bombardier Transport to Durban; the appointment of the McKinsey consortium for advisory services on the 1064 locomotives, the subsequent withdrawal of McKinsey and cession to Regiments, and payments made to Regiments; and three contracts with Neotel: the MSA for network services, the confinement and awarding of the CCTV contract in 2014, and the award for a R300 million contract for IT equipment.
Molefe was also expected to be grilled on his visit to the Gupta family’s Saxonwold residence, the processes followed to appoint him as Transnet group chief executive in 2011, and the sponsorship and advertising deals concluded with Gupta-owned The New Age.
In a recent interview with the Pretoria News, his lawyer said the issues raised in the Transnet summons showed that Justice Zondo was prejudicial and on a fishing expedition.