Parliament responds to the Zondo commission, an era of accountability for former Eskom boss, and charges for a member of the judiciary tainted with state capture allegations. These are some of the latest developments in the aftermath of the inquiry.
Koko in court over Kusile contract
Former Eskom acting CEO Matshela Koko made headlines again in October when he was arrested on charges of corruption linked to a R2-billion tender at Eskom’s Kusile power station. Among those who are charged alongside him are his wife Mosima, two stepdaughters, and a friend.
Koko was appointed acting GCEO of the power utility in 2016, a year after Eskom awarded the tender to Swiss company Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) to install a control and instrumentation system on the power generating units at Kusile. It is believed by the state that of this amount, R549-million was then paid by ABB to Impulse International, a company of which Koketso Aren, one of Koko’s stepdaughters, was a shareholder. Impulse then paid at least R30-million of that money to another company owned by Aren, named Ukwakhiwa Investments, News24 reports. Koko’s wife Mosima then allegedly benefited by some R14.5-million, paid by Ukwakhiwa to a company she owns.
A total of 11 individuals and seven companies have been charged in the matter, with Koko being granted bail of R300 000 by the Middleburg Magistrates Court. The case will return to court on 23 March 2023.
Parliament on Zondo recommendations
Much of the work that Parliament has to do as per the recommendations of the state capture commission is well underway, with the different portfolio committees briefed on their mandate, it says in its response, released on 3 November. Should it not complete any of the tasks by the end of its term, a detailed record of the progress made will be made available to the next parliament.
The commission made several findings on Parliament’s lack of urgency in its oversight role. A number of witnesses who appeared before it pointed to party politics trumping the National Assembly’s interests in many cases that needed Parliament’s attention. The legislature’s failure to hold members of the executive accountable for the departments that they oversee also made it into the commission’s findings.
The response, overseen by National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and her National Council of Provinces counterpart Amos Masondo, notes: “Whilst the commission acknowledged the progress and good work of some committees and individual Members of Parliament, the overall picture highlighted significant room for improvement. The commission’s report and recommendations, particularly those concerning Parliament’s oversight role during the fourth and fifth parliaments, require Parliament to put measures in place to strengthen its mechanisms.”
The document further outlines the committees responsible for overseeing the recommendations pertaining to individual departments and entities named in the final report by commission chairperson, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Chief magistrate Nair to fight prosecution
October also saw the appearance of suspended Pretoria Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair in court. Nair faces charges of corruption linked to an alleged bribe he received from defunct utilities company Bosasa in 2016.
He will have to make representations to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on why he should not be prosecuted.
Evidence heard before the commission named Nair among senior officials who received gifts from Bosasa in exchange for influencing decisions that favoured the company. In his case, the alleged gift is the installation of security equipment to the value of R200 000 at his Pretoria home, including an electric fence, CCTV components, and alarm systems.
Nair has denied that he knew of the connection between Bosasa and its subsidiary, Sondolo IT, for which a Mr Doofjam Baijoo worked. Nair said he knew Baijoo from having seen him regularly at the courthouse where he is based, as a contractor working on the building’s security systems.
Nair’s lawyer, Advocate Danie Dorfling, committed to making the representations available to the NPA by 16 November 2022.