The second part of the Zondo Commission Report that has been handed to President Ramaphosa is truly mind-boggling, listing pages of racketeering incidents. The Commission worked for more than three years to probe how state-owned entities were penetrated and looted. The third and final part will be issued at the end of the month.
This part focuses on two entities, Denel the supplier of various goods and services to the defence and security environment and Transnet, a major port, rail, pipeline company set up in 1990. It shows that a President – Jacob Zuma – and a bunch of Ministers deliberately set out to capture Transnet. As a result R40,084,201,927 – R41.2 billion! – went from Transnet to the companies linked with the Gupta family. Zuma, the report says, had a hand in derailing Transnet, despite his denial.
As the investigative journalist Susan Comrie said in a ‘Daily Maverick’ piece, it all starts with who gets appointed as Minister and as Chief Executive officer and as Board members of the entities “so, by the time these contracts start, the whole system is set up.”
In the case of Transnet, it was said to have begun in 2009 with the resignation of CEO Maria Ramos and Zuma’s election. The President insisted on the appointment of the CEO’s successor Siyabonga Gama despite the refusal of the then public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan to reinstate a man facing charges of misconduct concerning tenders.
It almost sounds like a bad thriller that the architects of the scheme collected handfuls of cash from the Gupta residence in Johannesburg’s elite Saxonwold suburb to count it in the presence of bodyguards, then to be driven with their money bags to store the booty in a safe vault.
Hardly surprising that the report recommended Zuma be investigated for “alleged corruption and racketeering for his alleged role as a willing enabler of the looting of Transnet”.