The Zondo Commission of inquiry into State Capture heard harrowing details of alleged corruption under Anoj Singh and Brian Molefe’s tenure as bosses.
On Thursday, 6 June 2019, the Zondo Commission of inquiry into State Capture, presided over by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, heard details of how Singh and Molefe allegedly drove corruption at Transnet. The railway company began experiencing financial troubles after over R600 million was paid into Gupta-linked Regiments Capital and McKinsey Consulting.
The railway company’s former group treasurer, Mathane Makgatho, appeared before the commission and described Singh, who was the chief financial officer, as “a very corrupt guy”, claiming he was reckless while Molefe, a chief executive at the time, was street smart and played his cards well.
Makgatho was the group treasurer between March 2013 and November 2014. Asked about Molefe, she described him as someone she considered a brother as they were colleagues in the National Treasury in the 1990s. She expressed that it took her some time to establish that Molefe was part of the alleged corruption at the railway and logistics company.
“I thought that he was my brother. With the passing of time, I began to slowly see that they are the same game players, just that the other one is a rough player (Singh) and the other one is a smooth operator (Molefe),” Makgatho said in her description of the men.
She says that, although Singh was a loose cannon, Molefe continued giving him powers. She also told the commission that she had warned Molefe against bestowing so much power on Singh as she felt that he could not be trusted.
“I don’t think the guy can be managed you must just cut his power,” Makgatho recalled telling Molefe.
Molefe had responded: “I’ll manage him, I don’t want to ruffle feathers.”
Transnet paid out a total of R318 million to Regiments between May 2013 and March 2014. “I was shocked to see that within a short space of time Regiments and McKinsey were paid between R600m and R700m in around 15 months,” Makgatho testified.
The R616m paid to the companies at the time were payments from the pension fund, the budget for locomotives, professional and transaction advisory services, among others.
Makgatho said she had not known that McKinsey and Regiments were so entrenched in the business. “I was shocked beyond words,” she said.