Zondo commission: Malusi Gigaba says special adviser was not a bully
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Johannesburg - Former minister of public enterprises Malusi Gigaba has dismissed insinuations that his special adviser acted as a bully on his behalf during appointment processes at state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
Gigaba has returned to the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture where he is giving evidence related to his special adviser Siyabonga Mahlangu's alleged involvement in the appointment of executives and board members at SOEs.
Gigaba refuted claims that Mahlangu acted as more than just his adviser and would follow his instructions, as minister, to influence appointments at SOEs.
Chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, said that Mahlangu's role was not what he would have expected from an adviser.
"The tone and manner in which he (Mahlangu) is speaking gives me the impression that he was at the meetings in his own right," Justice Zondo said.
Justice Zondo put it to Gigaba that Mahlangu's actions were done on his behalf and executives would feel compelled to oblige because he was the minister’s adviser.
But Gigaba denied that Mahlangu did his bidding and acted on his behalf.
According to Gigaba, there was never a time where he would "put words in people's mouths" or give an instruction to someone to be rude on his behalf.
"You can bully the CEO as much as you want, but you will have to bully an entire board to get a specific outcome," Gigaba said, in response to former SAA chief executive Sizakele Mzimela's affidavit where she claimed Mahlangu acted on behalf of Gigaba and influenced appointments at the SOE.
Mzimela said Mahlangu was “very involved” in SAA affairs “which was unusual of an adviser”. She said Mahlangu also had special interest in an IT tender. Gigaba said he was not aware of this.
Gigaba is expected to conclude giving evidence by the afternoon as the commission prepares to hear Eskom-related evidence from the former project manager at Kusile Power station, Abram Masango, and former Eskom executive Prishotham Govender at 3pm.
The commission is also scheduled to have an evening session to hear law enforcement agency-related evidence from a partner at Ngubane and Wills Inc, Sibusisiwe Ngubane, and former KwaZulu-Natal ANC finance manager, Delani Mzila at 4pm.