Headaches likely for Zondo as he prepares to hear testimonies of Koko, Molefe & Singh

Mawande AmaShabalala Political journalist
Matshela Koko is expected to give evidence before the commission on Tuesday but he may not be able to.
Matshela Koko is expected to give evidence before the commission on Tuesday but he may not be able to.
Image: Esa Alexander

The Zondo commission has allocated this week to Eskom-related testimony from former executives of the power utility, including former CEOs Matshela Koko and Brian Molefe, and former CFO Anoj Singh.

But it might not all be smooth sailing — and this is already a headache for commission chairperson chief justice Raymond Zondo.

The trio stand accused of having been the Gupta family's foot soldiers in the capture of Eskom.

Zondo expressed concern that, with regards to Koko, who is due to take the stand on Tuesday, Rule 33 notices to those he is expected to implicate have not been served.

A rule Rule 33 notice is sent out to those who are to be implicated by a witness, notifying them that they will be implicated.

“If Rule 33 notices have not been sorted out, I do not know how we are going to proceed with his evidence,” commented Zondo on Monday. “Let us talk about it tomorrow [Tuesday] when they [Koko and his legal team] are here, because they are affected.”

The commission will then on Wednesday hear the evidence of Singh, but that too has its own challenges.

Singh is yet to submit his affidavit to the commission two days before his scheduled hearing, despite a deadline to do so that expired four months ago. Zondo is not pleased.

“He [Singh] has been served with summons for Wednesday and therefore he should be here and when he is here he is going to have to explain why he did not comply with the 10(6) directive. He must be here and he will need to explain that.

“The deadline by which he was supposed to file an affidavit [September 4 2020] has long passed, so [his conduct] is completely unacceptable.”

On Friday, the commission will hear much-anticipated testimony from Molefe.

However, Zondo expressed concern that the commission's legal team may have not shared Molefe's affidavit with those implicated, for their response.

Molefe may, in fact, not appear on Friday if a letter written to the commission's secretary by his lawyers is anything to go by.

In the January 8 letter, Molefe's legal representatives accuse the commission of seeking to “ambush” their client, having failed to respond to two letters he penned to the inquiry in September and December last year.

It was for this reason that Molefe was not fully prepared to give evidence and “reserves his right to request a postponement” of his testimony scheduled for Friday.

“We wish to place it on record, once more, that our client is severely prejudiced by the commission's failure to respond to his legitimate inquiries relating to his scheduled appearance in January 2020,” reads the letter from Molaba Attorneys.

“On its own, not responding to legitimate inquiries is inconsistent with fairness and our client is seriously prejudiced that, until now, he does not appreciate the scope of preparation that he needs to be of any use to the commission.

“Our client has a reasonable apprehension that the secretary's failure or refusal to reply to our correspondence is deliberate and designed to embarrass him when he appears before the commission without knowing what is it that the commission seeks from him.

“We consider it highly irresponsible for a truth-finding commission to conduct itself in this manner because an inescapable impression has been created that the commission wishes to ambush and embarrass our client rather than elicit facts which are to his knowledge.”

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