PRETORIA, South Africa – The Zondo commission into State Capture has heard about claims that the ANC may have benefitted from an irregular tender awarded by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) in 2013.
Former Prasa board chairperson Popo Molefe continued testifying at the commission on Tuesday. Molefe has been giving evidence related to corruption he witnessed while he headed up the state-owned enterprise’s board between 2014 and 2017.
On Tuesday he focused his evidence on claims, which had already circulated in the media since 2016, that the ANC had allegedly benefited from kickback payments from a company called Swifambo Rail Leasing. Swifambo had been awarded a R3.5 billion contract to supply locomotives to Prasa in 2013.
Gomes had allegedly forwarded the payments to the “movement” which has been interpreted by Mashaba as being the ANC, although Molefe said there was no evidence to state whether the payments did go to the governing party.
When the revelations were first reported in 2016, the ANC denied ever receiving the money.
Molefe had also told the commission that an investigation into corruption at Prasa had also uncovered an email exchange between former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana and Gomes.
The emails appear to show Montana sharing details about two railway projects worth billions of rands that Prasa was set to begin.
Molefe also told the inquiry that his board had written to the Hawks asking the organisation to expedite cases opened about corruption at Prasa which included the Swifmabo contract – the High Court had found that the contract was irregularly awarded.
The former board chairperson’s revelations shocked commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Zondo opined during proceedings about his concerns over what seemed like a lack of action from the ANC, Parliament and the Hawks on investigating corruption allegations that were reported by Molefe.
“The impression one gets is that you have a government that says it is committed to fighting corruption, but here are cases from Prasa, but nobody comes up to say that the board has been dismissed and let’s investigate these cases,” Zondo said.
“The president ought to have been interested in the matter and said what is happening? Why are people not doing what they obviously supposed to do? cabinet must be interested in these things, along with Parliament and the ANC. Are they displaying the commitment, is that commitment manifested in how people conduct themselves in performing their jobs?”
Molefe has concluded his evidence.