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[LIVE BLOG] #StateCaptureInquiry: Procurement issues in spotlight

The judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture is hearing testimony from Treasury’s Ndeleni Willie Mathebula.

[WATCH LIVE] State Capture Inquiry Day 2

Zondo tells the inquiry that the commission has a responsibilty to explore different ways in which procurement can be protected from corruption.

Mathebula says they rely on reports of the auditor general to identify where problems are leading to irregularities in tender process. 

Zondo asks if there is work done to identify where problems seem to be in irregular tenders...

Mathebula explains process of contested tenders VS tenders awarded...

Mathebula says they are considering using internal auditors to audit procurement processes before they are finalized.

What percentage of tenders get contested compared to total tenders awarded? Zondo asks Mathebula

Mathebula says there may be loopholes in the procurement regulatory framework.

Justice Zondo asks whether there are weaknesses in the procurement system leading to corruption in the issuing of tender...

Mathebula says they work together with the department of monitoring and evaluation.

Justice Zondo is asking how government follows up on irregular practices in procurement space:

Mathebula says the Public Service Commission and law enforcement agencies are often approached with complaints about those avoiding following proper procurement processes.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo asks about statistics of those deviating from procurement processes.

Mathebula: We can't forget the human element. Humans must elect to ensure that there is compliance in these processes. 

Mathebula is asked if there is a monitoring process to ensure money achieves it's intended objective "it is a difficult question... it is a challenge."

Mathebula admits they need to tighten details of contracts.

Mathebula: Deviations must be audited by accounting officers for accounting purposes.

Gcabashe asks what recommendations the commission can make to strengthen government's procurement processes.

Gcabashe asks about enforcement consequences and what happens to transgressors. 
Mathebula says a number of entities have been appearing before Parliament to answer and that it is an ongoing process.

Some analysis...

Mathebula says deviations must be audited by accounting officers for accounting purposes.

Mathebula says deviations are only allowed in life threatening circumstances. 

Gcabashe moves now to deviations of contracts saying they are a weak link in the way procurement is monitored. 

Mathebula has listed how Treasury deals with corruption is found.

"What is your role in terms of enforcement?" Gcabashe asks

Mathebula:  2011 regulations introduced content and production to favour locally produced goods for job retention.

Mathebula now talks about the introduction of the 2011 regulations which he said resulted in the BEE procurement

Mathebula is adamant that Treasury tries to deal with the abuse of the procurement system in the country.

Mathebula says there's a unit within Treasury that deals with this investigation

Mathebula says there units within Treasury that deal with such irregularities. 

Gcabashe now wants to know how Treasury manages other spheres of government irregularities...

Adv Gcabashe: Have you had cause to probe procurement irregularities at any SOEs? 
Mathebula: Yes.
Gcabashe: When can we get hold of these records?
Mathebula: All relevant reports that are in possession of Treasury will be made available to commission.

Mathebula: It’s not a secret that treasury has commissioned investigations into the the procurement systems of big entities such as Transnet, Eskom.

Mathebula: Big committees are subjected to ethical standards.

We are back...

The commission has taken a break and will be back soon.

Mathebula: The Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act mandates organs of state to develop their own preferential procurement framework to advance historically disadvantaged people. 

Mathebula says the constitution itself gives the National Treasury authority to oversee procurement processes across organs of state. 

Mathebula says accountability rests with accounting officers.

Mathebula says in 2001 a new procurement system in line with the Constitution was introduced replacing the state tender board which was inconsistent with Constitution.

Mathebula says procurement in South Africa is centralised while the execution of the policies is decentralised.

Mathebula says in 2001 a new procurement system in line with the Constitution was introduced replacing the state tender board which was inconsistent with Constitution.

Mathebula:  Procurement is an integral part of financial management.

Willie Mathebula says his office was established to ensure transparency.

Those spheres of government: 

Mathebula says he is responsible for regulating procurement and modernizing the system across all spheres of government.

Mathebula is explaining his duties  and the type of contracts he deals with.

Advocate Leah Gcabashe says Mathebula’s testimony is purely technical:

Treasury’s Ndeleni Willie Mathebula- Acting Procurement Officer is the Zondo Commissions first witness he will be thrashing out Treasury’s procurement processes.

The witness list includes Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, former Government Communication and Information System chief executive Themba Maseko, current acting GCIS chief executive Phumla Williams and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor.

The commission has confirmed the names of at least eight witnesses who will be called to testify during the first sitting of the public hearings that are expected go on for three to six weeks, depending on evidence led.

The reason we have this inquiry is The inquiry is investigating allegations of undue influence by the politically-connected Gupta family on members of the executive and at state-owned entities.




He is expected to thrash out his division's processes and rules at National Treasury.

Mathebula is a veteran Treasury employee who has been tasked with overseeing the management of government’s procurement system.

Mathebula was appointed acting chief of procurement by then Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba last September.

So who is Willie Mathebula?

First to take the stand is seasoned Treasury official Willie Mathebula.

The commission of inquiry is expected to call its first witness today. 

Good morning and welcome back to day 2 of EWN's live about the State Capture Inquiry, chaired by Deputy Justice Raymond Zondo.

That is it for today. Join us again tomorrow. 

Zondo says the reports are formally admitted. He adjourns and says proceedings will resume at 10:00 tomorrow with the first witness.

"There are over 122 boxes of information which the team is still paginating,"  Norman tells Zondo.

"There seems to be more reports on Transnet locomotives than actual functional trains."

Norman says the NPA notified the commission of charges against 11 individuals (so, nine people and two companies) over the dairy project.

Thandi Norman: "We also have submissions from section 24 report, Absa statements on Tegeta 17 Nov 2017."

The evidence, still derived from the attachments to the Public Protector's report, includes transcripts of interviews with:
Mcebisi Jonas
Nhlanhla Nene
Themba Maseko
Barbara Hogan
Vytjie Mentor
Julius Malema

Advocate Thandi Norman who’s giving an outline of the reports received says they have transcripts and recordings from Pravin Gordhan.

Advocate Vincent Maleka says they’ve reached some sort of settlement with the legal representatives. They will receive documents of all allegations against them, he says they will also have to attend testimonies by the witnesses.

Ans we're back...

They've raised concerns over not being given enough time to respond including lawyers for former president Jacob Zuma and Ajay Gupta.

Legal representatives of those implicated in allegations of state capture have asked the commission for more time to study witness submissions.

Lynne Brown’s representative says their client who is the former Public Enterprises Minister has not received any notices.

Why not get 2 lawyers? So far Ajay Gupta has 2 legal advocates.

First up Advocate Micheal Hellens. He says he represents Ajay Gupta:

Mike Hellens is representing the Guptas.

The legal teams are now introducing themselves...

Zondo asks for an adjournment so legal teams can introduce themselves at his temporary chambers. 

A mild Outa protest outside the venue...

Was the 'New Age' Newspaper was used to advance certain interests?

Pretorius continues with the terms of references of the commission’s legal team. 

And we’re back...

The commission has taken a short break. Back in 15 minutes.  

A look at the money trail connected to the amaBhungane and EWN exclusive that revealed how Eskom helped the Guptas buy the Optimum coal mine.

The masses are waiting for testimonies nje... 

Pretorius says the legal team will also deal with how Ministerial dismissals and appointments impacted the governance of the country: 

Pretorius is citing key Sections of the Constitution and Executive Members Ethics Act and Code to show legislative frameworks relevant to the inquiry's work.

Tweeps going in for the Guptas and the state:

Pretorius: Our terms of references direct us to ask certain import questions, has the state been captured?

"Our hearings will be heard in public, and on some in some instances will be held in camera." Paul Pretorius  says.

"Come forward if you have information." This is the plea from Justice Raymond Zondo.

The deputy Chief Justice has made a plea to South Africans...

The issues the inquiry will address include: allegations of improper job offers to Mcebisi Jonas and Vytjie Mentor by the Guptas, if then president Zuma knew of these alleged offers and had a role in facilitating them.

Zondo still giving his opening remarks

Justice Zondo says the commission is to investigate allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud. Inquire, make findings, report on make recommendations on Public Protector State of Capture report.

Zondo: Today marks the first day of the commission, its background is known to all of us.

[WATCH LIVE] Day one of State Capture Inquiry

Last month, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo applied to have the deadline of the inquiry extended by 2 years due to the commission's mammoth task.

Stay glued right here to get blow by blow updates, we will be bringing you every update. 

Mentor and Jonas were among the first senior government officials to blow the whistle on state capture claims.

"The basis of my rejection of their offer is that it makes a mockery of our hard-earned democracy, the trust of our people and no one apart from the President of the Republic appoints ministers." Jonas said.

Jonas said he rejected the offer out of hand.

In 2016, Then deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas confirmed that he was offered the position of finance minister by a member of the Gupta family.

But what did the Guptas stand to benefit? Favourable business decision, Mentor said.

She also claimed that she has proof that Zuma was in the same house when the Gupta family offered her a job.

Mentor has said the Guptas offered her the position of public enterprises minister in 2010, while Zuma was in the other room.

Do you remember those explosive claims by Mentor and Jonas? Let's refresh your memory...

Some of the first witnesses expected to give testimony during the hearings are former deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC member Vytjie Mentor.

So what is the role of the commission? It will be unravelling the full extent of corruption at state organs and allegations that Zuma used his position to secure deals for the Guptas and his son Duduzane, in return for money.

In 2016, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a damning report exposing corruption at state-owned entities including Eskom, Transnet and South African Airways.

These allegations go back, way back...

Claims of abuse of power by senior government officials and former President Jacob Zuma’s involvement with the Guptas will be laid bare.

The commission will be chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture will officially begin on today.

Let's recap on what we know so far...

Good morning and welcome to EWN's live blog about the inquiry into allegations of state capture.