DAYS OF ZONDO
While Dudu Myeni prevaricates, Zizi Kodwa is accused of pocketing millions
Former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni eventually deigned to appear at the Zondo Commission via Zoom on Tuesday afternoon, after being a no-show in person. Her evasions were overshadowed by testimony given earlier in the day to the effect that State Security Deputy Minister Zizi Kodwa had accepted millions in apparent bribes from tech company EOH.
While he was ANC spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa received cash and payments in kind from tech giant EOH amounting to more than R2-million.
This was the upshot of testimony given to the Zondo Commission on Tuesday by ENS Forensics specialist Steven Powell. Powell had previously been tasked by the commission into looking at EOH, its relationship with the ANC and the money and communications flowing between EOH executive Jehan Mackay and Kodwa.
Powell told the commission that a subpoena of Kodwa’s bank accounts had revealed multiple transfers from Mackay, from May 2015 to February 2016. On one such occasion, in February 2016, Mackay deposited R30,000 in Kodwa’s account to take it out of arrears.
Kodwa was also sponsored for luxury accommodation at establishments like the swanky Villa Barbados in Camps Bay.
Powell explained that Kodwa was one of a number of “influencers, middle-men, intermediaries” used by EOH between 2015 and 2017 to help it win lucrative state tenders. In total, EOH made payments of more than R15-million to the ANC and suppliers, seemingly for the same purpose.
Kodwa and his ANC colleagues are accused of intervening in support of EOH in at least three procurement processes: a Home Affairs tender, an Eastern Cape document management tender and a Sassa (South African Social Security Agency) ICT tender worth about R90-million.
As an example of how this worked, Powell explained that a R217-million tender was awarded to EOH in 2016 — after the tech company donated R1-million to the ANC in the Eastern Cape.
If the matter is pursued by the National Prosecuting Authority, Kodwa — an ally of President Cyril Ramaphosa — will be required to step aside from his position as deputy state security minister.
Powell stressed to the commission at the end of his testimony that EOH “has completely new management and leadership and has been committed to cleaning up the organisation”.
With the likes of Mackay reported to the authorities, Powell said that EOH has “done the right thing”.
Also falling into that category on Tuesday — albeit belatedly — was management consultancy McKinsey, which announced that it had made good on its promise to the Zondo Commission to return fees irregularly paid to it by Transnet in respect of projects undertaken by Regiments Capital. McKinsey stated that it had returned R870-million to Transnet.
Holding firm to her position on the same day was SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni. After incurring Judge Raymond Zondo’s wrath for her failure to appear before the commission on Tuesday morning, Myeni made a clearly begrudging appearance via Zoom some hours later.
Explaining her absence as stemming from “a misunderstanding and miscommunication”, Myeni claimed that she intended to cooperate with the State Capture inquiry.
This claim was, however, swiftly followed by an appeal to Zondo to allow her to testify in isiZulu. Addressing the judge by his clan name, Myeni told him in isiZulu that she believed she was being attacked because she was associated with the Jacob Zuma Foundation and because she is black. She explained that she wished to testify in her own language in order to clear her name within her own community.
Zondo rejected Myeni’s request on the grounds that there was no time to arrange for an interpreter, suggesting that she could submit an isiZulu version of her testimony afterwards to form part of the commission record.
Myeni had been summoned back to the commission to comment on testimony given by Nick Linnell and former Eskom chair Zola Tsotsi. It had been alleged that Myeni summoned both Linnell and Tsotsi to meetings with former president Jacob Zuma to arrange a commission of inquiry into Eskom’s affairs and orchestrate the suspension of four key Eskom executives in 2015.
Myeni lashed out at Tsotsi, terming his version of events “misleading and sensational”.
“I was never on board at Eskom. I had no interest in Eskom. The person who had problems at Eskom was Mr Tsotsi,” Myeni told the commission.
She claimed that it was Tsotsi who had approached her through an intermediary to request that Myeni facilitate a meeting with Zuma, and that she had agreed to do so out of a spirit of collegial helpfulness.
“In a nutshell, Chair, the meetings did take place, but at the behest of Tsotsi, not Zuma,” said Myeni.
Myeni said that she could not recall the content of the meetings because, “I had too many problems at SAA to pay attention to issues at Eskom.”
Before she was excused from giving testimony, Myeni accused the commission of being obsessed with Zuma.
During her previous appearance before the commission, Myeni had declined to answer more than 20 questions on the grounds that doing so might expose her to criminal prosecution — in other words, invoking protection against self-incrimination.
Said evidence leader Kate Hofmeyr: “That privilege was abused on a number of occasions in the course of Ms Myeni’s evidence.”
Since then, however, Myeni and her lawyers have had a change of heart and indicated that the former SAA chairperson can indeed answer 24 outstanding questions. She has been given until 7 June to submit answers under affidavit. DM