Johannesburg – The Zondo commission resumes on Thursday morning to probe corruption-related matters.
An unidentified witness will take the stand.
On Wednesday, the commission heard evidence from an attorney who had represented Prasa in legal matters.
Mogashoa detailed his involvement in proceedings and engagements with Makhubele in what resulted in Prasa being forced to settle R60 million to the Siyaya group of companies.
Siyaya and Prasa had been involved in a legal dispute in 2017 where the engineering company claimed the parastatal owed it millions of rands in unpaid fees for services rendered.
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Prasa’s previous board chairperson Popo Molefe and the legal team at the time believed the agency had legal standing and was not required to pay Siyaya. Molefe was later replaced by Mokhubele in October 2017.
Prasa’s legal representatives, Martha Ngoyi and Fani Dingiswayo testified at the commission that Makhubele arrived at her new position and became preoccupied with the legal dispute between Siyaya and Prasa. She had questions regarding Prasa’s legal motives in not settling the matter.
Ngoyi had compiled a report motivating why Prasa had a legal basis for not wanting to settle with Siyaya. But besides these objections, Makhubele moved to push for a settlement. Ngoyi said the legal team was sidelined.
Mogashoa told the inquiry that he had met with Makhubele on two occasions in December 2017 where Prasa’s internal legal team was no present. He said he was instructed not to consult with Prasa’s legal team regarding the legal dispute and possible settlement with Siyaya.
Mogashoa said Makhubele said the board had decided that the Siyaya’s four cases with the agency had to be settled and he was asked to draft a settlement offer
“The chairperson said given the content of the interim report, Prasa had decided that it would be in its best interest to settle the matters with the Siyaya group as we would not have enough information to sustain a defence,” he said.
The offers made by Prasa, on Makhubele’s instruction, included settlements of R17 million, R15 million, R8 million and R7 million. These were cases disputed between 2015 and 2016.
Mogashoa said Makhubele also insisted that included in the settlement there must be a clause on its confidentiality and no admission of liability.
A settlement between Prasa and Siyaya was reached in December 2017 through an arbitration process. However, in April 2018 the agency’s internal legal team successfully won a High Court interdict which prevented the sheriff of the court from paying over the R60 million settlement.