Former SAA board member claims Zondo commission lawyer is biased against her

Former SAA board member Yakhe Kwinana on Monday attempted to get Advocate Kate Hofmeyr to recuse herself during her appearance before the commission, but she failed.

A screengrab of former SAA board member Yakhe Kwinana appearing at the state capture inquiry in Johannesburg on 2 November 2020. Picture: SABC/YouTube

JOHANNESBURG - Former South African Airways (SAA) board member Yakhe Kwinana on Monday said she was offended that state capture commission evidence leader, Advocate Kate Hofmeyr, accused her of receiving R4.3 million in bribes and kickbacks.

Kwinana attempted to get Hofmeyr to recuse herself during her appearance before the commission, but she failed.

Kwinana said the commission’s legal team was selective and targeted some people, and not others.

She said she stood by decisions that were made by the board when she was its member.

“Miss Hofmeyr stated that I was in a corrupt relationship while I was a director at SAA and chairperson offsite in that I received kickbacks and bribes. She also said that I received an amount of R4.3 million. I have requested my attorney to write a letter to the commission requesting Ms Hofmeyr to name the basis of those allegations,” Kwinana said.

“No reply was received to the first letter nor to the second letter, which we also wrote. I was advised by the attorney of record that I must apply for recusal of Ms Hofmeyr on the grounds that she is biased against me,” she added.

Meanwhile, Kwinana denied that she instructed another aviation company to appoint a subcontractor of SAA’s choice to fulfill the state airline’s 30% BEE set-policy set aside.

The state capture commission read emails written by Swissport CEO Peter Kohl in which he gave an account of SAA’s demands.

Kohl said in essence it meant that of the R300 million annual revenues that his company earned from SAA, Swissport would have to part with R90 million in favour of a subcontractor that the airline would choose.

Kohl said Kwinana’s instruction would bankrupt his company.

But Kwinana told the commission his interpretation was incorrect.

“The purpose of the meeting was to communicate that their contract has been irregular, and therefore – because I think there were on a month-to-month basis – it would be required that it should go out on tender,” she said.

WATCH: State capture commission proceedings

Download the EWN app to your iOS or Android device.