Cheryl Carolus told Zondo's Investigation Commission of State Capture, which, to this day, is disconcerted of how Malusi Gigaba, considered previously as one of the new rising political stars in the ANC, has fallen into this unexpected mess. "It's not stupid. He's intellectually crafty. But here was an adult person who got up to what was just madness.
A mass exodus of members of the South African Airways Council in 2012 arose behind false and false hostilities of the then Minister of Public Enterprises, Malusi Gigaba.
Gigaba begged to lie when he notified the president of the Parliament that the annual general meeting of the SAA of September 2012 had been postponed because his auditory financial statements were not prepared while he was in his hands for almost a month.
This was part of the surprising testimony of former President Cheryl Carolus in the state capture investigation on Thursday when he lifted the lid on a series of deeply disturbing events that culminated in his resignation and that of seven senior management associates of the time.
The AGM of the airline needed to be carried out before the end of that month, but was delayed for a delay in obtaining a guarantee from the government to satisfy the market its status as an ongoing company.
In addition to boosting its loan prospects, this guarantee was vital since the airline management team intended to make the purchase of more efficient aircraft to fight more profitable routes than planned to introduce.
During a lunch meeting with Gigaba, the former minister allegedly told Carolus that he was all tidy and that he could not believe that his office had not provided the document of approval of the National Treasury.
She contacted her colleagues and assured that the AGM would be executed for the legally requested period before the end of that week.
But the next morning he was confronted with a first-page newspaper citing Gigaba's note to the president about why the AGM had been canceled.
"This was purely false, "he testified.
She called an urgent board of directors and announced her decision to resign, on which several colleagues joined, plunging the airline into crisis with unnecessary negative headlines.
The group left after accepting that they could no longer work with a shareholder (Gigaba) who was openly hostile and "unpleasant" in their dealings with the board, which undermined the integrity and reputation of those involved.
In addition, they had by then already resolved that they did not have their support taking into account several public statements that allegedly Gigaba made.
One of them, said Carolus, relates to him saying to the Cape Town Press Club that SAA had no strategy, no vision, and that some of them were "unpatriotic."
Once again, she said that this was simply fake, because the airline had presented its strategy to the Public Business department every year as required and had quarterly meetings in which the results were controlled.
Gigaba's statement, she told the Commission, was inadequate and "quite unpleasant."
But long before the final straw, Carolus and his team presented all kinds of strange and marvelous requests from Gigaba or his then legal advisor, Siyabonga Mahlangu.
It is understood that Mahlangu intends to present an answer to the testimony of Carolus in the Commission, a movement that can be subjected to a cross-examination.
She testified the way in which Mahlangu was part of a meeting convened by the then public company Tshediso Matona, who tried to persuade them that Gupta's The New Age newspaper was in the door after the low level administration agreed to less desirable terms .
Gigaba and Mahlangu have tried repeatedly that the state airline abandoned a lucrative route between Mumbai and Johannesburg to deliver it to an Indian airline, Jet Airways, said Carolus.
This was despite the fact that the board had placed the route as the centerpiece of its turn-around strategy.
Although the route was not profitable at the time, this was because it was used as a mere point-to-point trip between the two cities.
During its mandate, the SAA realized that it was highly valuable, turning it into a network of routes with Johannesburg as a center or transit point for passengers looking to fly to South America and the rest of the African continent.
But here was Gigaba and his advisor allegedly tried to have them virtually surrendering a part of the state company's business to an external entity.
The first attempt was made at a meeting in the Gigaba office where SAA executives sat down and wait three hours so they could be repaired by the Jet Airways president who demanded that they leave the route.
Gigaba, he said, responded without forgetting the irregularity of this amazing show.
The Mumbai route previously appeared in the testimony of former vice president of ANC Vytjie Mentor, who said that the Guptas assumptions were offered by the Minister of Public Enterprises and in return, he will need to make sure that SAA retains the route.
Mentor is scheduled to be cross-examined at the time.
The predecessor of Gigaba, Barbara Hogan, also testified of how she was accused by a Jet Airways representative during an official visit to India when she sought to talk to her.
Carolus said that his departure and that of other board members was more like "constructive dismissal," and believed that it was a more appropriate way.
Several months later, Dudu Myeni, who had served on the board during the mandate of Carolus, would become the new president of the SAA.
This would mark the beginning of the turbulent years of the airline, which enjoyed relative stability during the previous council mandate, led by Carolus and a management team under the airline specialist Siza Mzimela.
Carolus said that to date he does not worry about how Gigaba, considered previously as one of the new rising political stars in the ANC, had fallen into this unexpected mess.
"It's not stupid. He is intellectually crafty. But here was an adult who was joining what was just madness. "
She told the Commission that Gigaba had already become apparent, since it is very central to a large number of bad guys in public entities.
The disillusionment of Gigaba began long before Carolus, his political superior, entered the witness box.
In case there was any confusion, the former vice president-general of ANC presented his credentials at the beginning of his testimony. She is a businesswoman and activist who has survived the ban on orders, detention and torture in her fight for justice and a free South Africa.
She said that she was part of a fortunate generation that was old enough to live through the horrors of institutionalized racism, sexism and violence and young women enough to be part of the generation that was able to build a new country, which now has to drag the path of turn of years of devastating corruption.
It was against this backdrop that Gigaba would be exposed, several times, as a malicious and false speaker of "false" during his controversial season in Public Companies. DM
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