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#StateCaptureInquiry Today, for the first time since inception the @StateCaptureCom sits on a Saturday. The focus remains on aviation. Yesterday's hearing revealed details of the contract between SA Express, the North West transport department and little-known company Koroneka.
#StateCaptureInquiry Two witnesses testified yesterday. First, Kutlwano Phatudi spoke. She is the CFO of the North West Department of Community Safety and Transport Development who initially refused an initial payment to Koroneka as it was not allowed per the then contract.
#StateCaptureInquiry Second, Babadi Tlatsana who was the initial, sole director of Koroneka began her evidence. Tlatsana replied to several questions yesterday on why she did not interrogate financial flows or asks more questions about what was happening at her company.
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana continues her evidence today. In reply to several questions yesterday, she indicated that she trusted Brian van Wyk of SA Express and saw him as providing help to her and her company, Koroneka.
#StateCaptureInquiry On 27 August 2015, says Tlatsana, an amount of R8.5-million was received into the account. Thereafter, on 16 September 2015 R5-million exited it. Tlatsana says Van Wyk told her that was for other stakeholders, fire trucks and security cameras at the airports.
Advocate Kate Hofmeyr asks Tlatsana if she understood her contract with SA Express to include purchasing fire trucks and security cameras. "Chair, I didn't have the contract at that time," she says. Hofmeyr says, even so, Tlatsana had a sense of what the contract entailed.
Tlatsana says, "There was never a fire truck delivered to any of the airports, Chair." She adds, "I have never seen any security cameras being installed at the airports, Chair." This is in light of a report, she says Van Wyk gave her, that outflows of money were for such things.
Hofmeyr asks Tlatsana, "Is it possible that fire trucks were delivered between September and November 2016 never to be seen again?" The witness replies, "No, no, no." Zondo asks on what basis Tlatsana says so, since she only visited the North West airports in early 2016.
After some questions from Zondo, Tlatsana amends her answer. "No, I wouldn't known, Chair." Hofmeyr asks if Tlatsana had personnel on site, replies there were staff including a facilities manager. Tlatsana did not ask the facilities manager if she saw a fire truck or cameras.
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana says, "The business was hijacked from me." Zondo asks, "At what stage did you come to that conclusion?" She replies, "Chair, the business was hijacked at the beginning because a lot of things were happening."
Zondo says, "When you agreed to Mr Van Wyk's suggestion that you should take more people into your [CC] and you agreed to have them as registered as members of your [CC] did they pay you anything for the interest, namely shares, in terms of [CC] effectively for the shares?"
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana says, "No, Chair." Zondo asks about the shareholding of Koroneka following the introduction - she says on Van Wyk's advice - of two more directors: Katherine Phiri and Victor Thabeng.
#StateCaptureInquiry "Chair, Mr Brian van Wyk's character was very arrogant, was very bully by then," she says. Tlatsana reports by that time he instructed her to do as he says, or he would report her to ANC people in the North West. Zondo asks what they could do to her.
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana says she was afraid, this was around the time - she can't remember if before or after - the murder of North West businessman Wandile Bozwana, who was killed in Pretoria. Zondo asks what she was afraid of, and she says, "To be killed, Chair."
[CONTEXT] #StateCaptureInquiry Below from @City_Press via @News24's website is an article following Bozwana's death. It which contains allegations a friend of Bozwana's made against the then North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo.
news24.com/SouthAfrica/Ne…
#StateCaptureInquiry We now deal with another outflow of money - to the tune of R9-million - for "asset management and financial services. That sum flowed out of the account on three dates: 8 and 11 May 2015 and 6 September 2015.
#StateCaptureInquiry We hear about payments from Koroneka to Neo Solutions. Hofmeyr highlights that a total R14.9-million left the Koroneka account, reportedly to pay for security cameras and installations at two North West airports.
[COMMENT] Various aspects of the deal with Koroneka are suspect. For one, Koroneka received R8.5-million before completing even a month's work or issuing an invoice to SA Express. For another, Van Wyk allegedly wanted to know about money flowing out of the company's account.
#StateCaptureInquiry Proceedings adjourn for tea. They are set to resume at 10:50.
[RECAP] In 2015, R9.5-million flows into the Koroneka account. Soon afterward, it flows out to Neo Solutions, and from there it's distributed to multiple accounts, including one for Batsamai Investments Holdings, a company owned by Sipho Levy Phiri, Van Wyk's life partner.
#StateCaptureInquiry Proceedings resume later than planned, due to technical challenges relating to audio Tlatsana recorded. The audio's not very audible. Hofmeyr explains the discussion takes place in a restaurant, some parts that are clear. This relates to a R400,000 payment.
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana listens on a laptop to the recorded conversation. The audio is not played in the hall. She will then relay what she hears and aspects of the conversation important to the evidence. Hofmeyr says the audio will be made available publicly.
Tlatsana says Van Wyk is eating but he "started by telling me, telling me that David Kalisilira has to be paid R100,000 for the reflector jackets they have bought" for #ANC104. "They, he means him and David Kalisilira," says Tlatsana. Zondo asks why she should pay the money.
#StateCaptureInquiry Below is a photo of Van Wyk and his partner Phiri in Florence, Italy. Tlatsana has tabled evidence indicating money paid to Koroneka was paid to Neo Solutions, R4-million was then paid to Batsamai Investments Holdings, which is Phiri's company.
#StateCaptureInquiry Van Wyk, in the audio, asks Tlatsana if she has a problem with what he is saying and she says, it's OK, they are going toward elections. Hofmeyr then moves on to the second audio recording. There are handwritten notes relevant to this audio, says Hofmeyr.
#StateCaptureInquiry Zondo summarises the audio as reflected by Tlatsana as follows: Van Wyk asked that the CC should refund him and the accountant money spent on T-shirts and reflector bibs for the #ANC104 campaign.
#StateCaptureInquiry Notes are projected onto screens @StateCaptureCom venue. "He said the bulk of the budget is coming from DOT [...] and then that that budget came to the province and then the province appointed the airline and the airline appointed the management company."
#StateCaptureInquiry The social media profiles for Van Wyk are telling. They reflect a significant amount of international travel - Paris, Florence, Amsterdam - and a penchant for fine wine, haute cuisine and entertaining.
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana notes the text on the page she says Van Wyk wrote on during the meeting. There is an entry with the letters DPE for the Department of Public Enterprises and the name LYNN above. She says this denotes Lynne Brown, then Public Enterprises Minister.
#StateCaptureInquiry The notes also includes an entry with the letters DOT which Tlatsana says denotes the Department of Transports and the letter D which Tlatsana reports represents then Minister Dipuo Peters. Nearby the figure 20 appears.
Tlatsana claims Van Wyk told her R20-million needed to go to the ministers. Zondo asks who were the ministers. She replies, "Minister Dipuo Peters and Minister Lynne Brown." Tlatsana further reports Van Wyk told her "tuna kgolo" meaning the Premier also needed to get some money.
#StateCaptureInquiry According to Tlatsana's evidence, Van Wyk told her that money linked to her company Koroneka's contract with SA Express for ground handling at two North West airports need to reach certain people. They are:
- Minister Lynne Brown
- Minister Dipuo Peters
- North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo
- Transport MEC Oageng Molapisi
- North West Community Safety and Transport Management HOD Bailey Mahlakoleng
- The CFO in the North West Department of Community Safety and Transport Management
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana says in the table below from Van Wyk DOT refers to the Minister of Transport, the figure 1 in a circle refers to "number one in the province" who was Mahumapelo, M refers to Minister Peters, H refers to the Head of Department, CF refers to the CFO.
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana testifies she asked why the departmental officials were being paid when they received salaries and claims Van Wyk told her if they did not get something then nothing would happen. He further told her the CFO Kutlwano Phatudi was the MEC's person.
[DEVELOPMENT] #StateCaptureInquiry Phatudi testified on Friday, prior to Tlatsana and gave evidence she resisted payment to Koroneka in March 2015. However, Tlatsana has now implicated Phatudi in allegedly receiving bribes, as per Van Wyk's handwritten notes.
[PARAPHRASED] #StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana testifies two other people were critical to an increase in the grant, and therefore also needed to receive funds from Koroneka. Hofmeyr refers Tlatsana to the third recording dealing with further payments. Tlatsana listens to the audio.
#StateCaptureInquiry As always, it is worth bearing in mind that Tlatsana's evidence had not yet been quibbled in hearings by those she implicates. We know, for instance, Van Wyk is aware she is implicating him and he's likely to apply cross-examine her.
#StateCaptureInquiry "Five signifies that he has already received five million," says Tlatsana, claiming money was paid to Mahumapelo is indicated in Van Wyk's handwritten notes. Ten, she claims, is what is still to be paid to the then Premier. E refers to the MEC, she claims.
#StateCaptureInquiry Hofmeyr highlights that, from what Van Wyk told Tlatsana during this conversation, the two ministers had not yet been paid. However, according to Tlatsana, by then Mahumapelo had allegedly received R5-million.
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana reports Van Wyk told her that his boss and the Chairman of SA Express also needed to get something. Hofmeyr asks if Tlatsana recalls any other important aspects of the conversation as relevant, and refers Tlatsana back to the diagram.
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana reports Van Wyk announced that Koroneka should also enter into an agreement with him for five years. Just a reminder: this is an SA Express manager telling the CEO of a service provider, Koroneka, to include him in a related but private agreement.
#StateCaptureInquiry Below is the next set of handwritten notes Tlatsana says Van Wyk made during a meeting the two held. You can see reference to a five year agreement with him ("myself") in the top line. There is also mention of the way forward, and Kalisilira's role.
#StateCaptureInquiry Further down is a list of items which needed to be arranged for the actual work of Koroneka's work at the two North West airports, something - as Hofmeyr has noted - has not been the focus of much of the discussion. See the list below.
#StateCaptureInquiry Zondo asks if Tlatsana understood items like flowers, grass and tractors to fall under the work of Koroneka in providing ground handling services to SA Express. "Didn't they seem to be very much outside the business of ground handling as you understood it?"
#StateCaptureInquiry Zondo asks Tlatsana if there is anything about the meeting with Van Wyk she wants to know. She reports Van Wyk told her he was under pressure "from these people we promised things" and there was more money to be received in future.
#StateCaptureInquiry Zondo asks Tlatsana what was her response. She reports she said OK. Zondo says OK can be interpreted in a number of ways. She says, "My OK was to dismiss him so that he can get out of my back."
#StateCaptureInquiry This meeting was on 20 January 2016 and, says Tlatsana, Van Wyk said he'd not been fair on her, but he would be fair on her from then on, and detailed the outflow of millions of rand from Koroneka's account. "Mr Van Wyk's story was not adding up," she says.
#StateCaptureInquiry Hofmeyr asks Tlatsana about the subsequent company which was paid for the ground handling work at the Mafikeng airport. Nothando Dube, who was an operations manager, established a new company Valotech soon after Tlatsana dismissed her.
[BREAKING] #StateCaptureInquiry The current @StateCaptureCom witness discloses she was arrested on 15 December 2016 and charged with fraud in relation to Koroneka. She was granted bail of R500,000. Hofmeyr asks what has happened since. "It was provisionally withdrawn," she says.
#StateCaptureInquiry "How did the idea of your closed corporation or you paying the ANC arise and what was the occasion?" asks Zondo. "Chair, Mr Van Wyk was putting pressure that we should put money in ANC [...] he was just making noise about ANC."
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana says she donated R1-million to the ANC in early 2016 and she obtained the account details for the party from the regional North West. Hofmeyr asks if she made any other payments s to political parties or politicians. Tlatsana says none she recalls.
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana says two men in a big car came to the office and announced they wanted to see her. The car had a GP registration, she says. "God be with me, let me just go and hear what these people want," Tlatsana reports she told herself.
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana reports the men said they had come to sort out this misunderstanding with Van Wyk, because Van Wyk was expecting money from Koroneka and other people were expecting money from Van Wyk, which they say was promised to him.
"Maybe there was a gun there, that is what I was thinking," says Tlatsana of what she thought when the men changed their posture and one fixed his jacket. One touched an animal skin around his wrist, and she did not know if this was a subtle message that this was a threat.
#StateCaptureInquiry Hofmeyr asks Tlatsana if she was fearful. "Oh my god, I couldn't go home," replies Tlatsana. She says one of the men introduced himself as Sipho, though she cannot remember the surname. Hofmeyr asks if Tlatsana would be able to identify him if she saw him.
#StateCaptureInquiry Hofmeyr says this will be significant later, as Timothy Nhlanhla Ngwenya mention a man who identified himself only as "Sipho" reported he was calling from Luthuli House, and reportedly said the SA Express money paid to Koroneka was siphoned off to the ANC.
Tlatsana reports at a funeral a man approached her and asked what she was doing at the funeral. She claims he then told her "Supra wants your head" and reportedly "because you took the airport money". She also reports calls from "Sipho" about her and her daughter's whereabouts.
[JUST IN] "Supra wants your head," Tlatsana reports a man told her at a funeral. She's also testified on intimidating phone calls to her. She claims "Sipho" sought R1-million to not to kill her daughter. "Kill if you want to kill," she says she told him.
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana says in early 2017 she provided recordings and information on death threats to the Hawks in Potchefstroom but to this date nothing has been done. Zondo asks if @StateCaptureCom has taken any steps to find out why two years later there's no progress.
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana reports on engagements with police in Mafikeng also with not progress. "Please follow up and let me know," says Zondo. He says it's concerning that Tlatsana has received no update, adding this is why people don't have confidence in the police.
#StateCaptureInquiry Tlatsana says even sitting here at the @StateCaptureCom she is not safe but in her culture when a father calls you, you listen and so when Zondo called her, she came to give her evidence.
#StateCaptureInquiry Hofmeyr refers to documents relevant to the statement of the next witness, Kalandra Viljoen, and asks Tlatsana if she can confirm a signature on certain documents is that of Van Wyk.
[INTERESTING] #StateCaptureInquiry The following @StateCaptureCom witness is a businesswoman and model, whose name arises in relation to VBS Bank moneys and allegations of money laundering. See the @City_Press article below for more.
city-press.news24.com/Business/how-t…
#StateCaptureInquiry There is more on Viljoen in the Namibian press. She is due to testify on Monday at 10:00. See the article below for more.
namibiansun.com/news/how-sme-b…
#StateCaptureInquiry Zondo excuses Tlatsana after thanking her for coming in on a Saturday. He notes there is not much time left for the @StateCaptureCom and adjourns until Monday morning.
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