By: Lucky Montana
I had watched your interview with the JSC with great enthusiasm and having listened to your life story, I admired your intellectual rigor and was convinced that you were fair, impartial and interested in justice and the truth. I was also inspired by your lecture on the life of Braam Fischer. Stemming from the latter, I was of the view that the Zondo Commission would exercise the utmost integrity and not act in a manner which prejudices the truth and encourages bias.
However, your conduct during the current PRASA hearings has changed my view. Your unfortunate statements during the testimony of Popo Molefe and Martha Ngoye, and your terrible treatment of Mr Louis Green are the last straw for me. You and Mr Soni tried so very hard to force Mr Green to say what you wanted to hear, and not the truth. I take my hat to this old man for the courage to stand up to one of the most powerful man in our country. It finally dawned on me during Louis Green’s testimony that you, Deputy Chief Justice, had lost your sense of fairness and deep commitment to justice. I kept asking myself whether this man would be the next Chief Justice of South Africa.
I had previously written to the Commission and detailed my various concerns, in particular the issue of the Commission’s investigative and legal teams’ bias conduct in this matter. This is in regard to their attempts to curtail the full extent of my evidence from my draft submission and protect certain individuals and companies (I attach letter for ease of reference).
I thought at the time that the bias came from the Investigating and Legal teams of the Commissions. I now realise this is rooted at the very top of the Commission. It is clear to me that the Commission wants to cherry-pick what it wishes to hear and has a perceived outcome of the matter relating to PRASA.
I did not mind watching the performance of Popo Molefe, Martha Ngoye, Fanie Dingiswayo and Clint Oellermann telling lies and misleading the Commission. I was not bothered because I knew that my chance would come to present my version supported by facts. However, you have made unfortunate and reckless comments during their evidence. Your demeanor, cynical laughter and perceived hero-worship of Mr Popo Molefe leaves much to be desired. Clearly at this juncture there is no doubt that you are fostering bias and you are not impartial to the hearing.
There are at least a minimum of twenty instances where you have made unfounded comments which tells me that you are not committed to hearing the facts or the truth. You have praised persons who are the actual culprits which lead to the demise of PRASA yet you and your investigative team under Clint Oellermann will not entertain evidence to illustrate the guilt of these individuals.
I noted further that you are allowing witnesses to give evidence without any tangible proof, allowing hearsay and Advocate Soni to run rough-shod over the proceedings. One can only surmise from the questions which you ask the witnesses, that you have already passed judgment in this matter, without hearing the full extent of evidence.
My property dealings have not been a secret. I have put my own resources in the purchase and/or development of 10 properties, some of which I acquired long before I became PRASA CEO. Your Mr Soni kept on making the false assertion that I received properties without putting any money and this was supported by irresponsible comments on your part.
My partnership with Riaan van der Walt was above board. Riaan van der Walt was never contracted to PRASA, and there was no corruption or conflict of interest in my dealings with him. This was the partnership between two entrepreneurs that agreed to combine their resources for a greater good and generate profits. There is nothing corrupt or unlawful about this.
I addressed the matter of my properties under oath in an affidavit I deposed to in the matter between PRASA and Siyangena Technologies. I am aware that Mr Oellermann obtained these files from the various attorneys but chose to ignore the evidence that do not support your agenda. My Statement to the Commission further elaborate on the various property deals I have been involved in since 1998.
From what I state above, I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong about your character and integrity. Under your watch, this Commission is turning into a farce and is not dignified because you seem to be impervious to the truth.
I have indicated to the Commission that I am currently grieving the death of my mother and will be ready to testify from the 21 September 2020 (e-mail attached for ease of reference). At that time, I will demonstrate why I say you are bias and make clear to you why all the sarcastic comments you made were unfounded, provided you do not curtail my evidence.
I remind you that this Commission belongs to all of us, the people of South Africa and may have a huge bearing on the future of our beloved country. We respect you Deputy Chief Justice and your office, and as an African elder. However, chairing this vitally important Commission does not make you God.
If you think that some of us will stand by and allow ourselves to be humiliated, then you are making a big mistake. This Commission should enable us to search for the truth, hold ourselves accountable and present recommendations that will set our country on a new direction. You have been making statements about the failure of Parliament, the ANC, the Hawks and the NPA based on the evidence of Popo Molefe, a man involved in serious breaches of good corporate governance and corruption at PRASA.
You are unfortunately allowing the Commission to be used for witch-hunts. Your inappropriate conduct may prove to be prejudicial to the future of South Africa as a country.
Notwithstanding your conduct, I confirm that I will still testify before the Commission in September or at a later date set by the Deputy Chief Justice. I hope and trust that I will be given the platform to present my version and that you will have the patience to listen to my evidence as you did with my detractors.
TSHEPO LUCKY MONTANA