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Zondo Commission questions Makhubo’s relationship with EOH

Read time 2min 40sec
City of Johannesburg mayor Geoffrey Makhubo.
City of Johannesburg mayor Geoffrey Makhubo.

City of Johannesburg mayor Geoffrey Makhubo was back at the State Capture Commission yesterday, defending “donations” from EOH, with evidence leader advocate Matthew Chaskalson submitting that he had “a corrupt relationship” with the company.

Chaskalson grilled the mayor over a series of payments made by the JSE-listed technology group to Makhubo’s Molelwane Consulting, suggesting they were in exchange for city tenders during his time as ANC Johannesburg regional treasurer and member of the mayoral committee for finance.

Makhubo’s testimony yesterday at the commission was to respond to accusations that he unduly benefitted from EOH.

A web of “suspicious payments” was unravelled in November at the commission by Steven Powell, ENSafrica lead investigator, who probed EOH’s tender irregularities that threatened to collapse the JSE-listed company.

Powell and his team were appointed by EOH after Microsoft, in February 2019, terminated its contract with the IT services company, as a result of an anonymous whistle-blower filing a complaint with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission about alleged malfeasance to do with a R120 million contract with the SA Department of Defence.

The ENSafrica investigation found evidence of a number of governance failings and wrongdoing at EOH, including unsubstantiated payments, tender irregularities and other unethical business practices, primarily limited to the public sector business.

Powell also named Johannesburg mayor Makhubo as one of the individuals who irregularly received payments from EOH.

Yesterday, Makhubo denied he unduly benefited from EOH donations but Chaskalson, after going through the evidence, said he will petition chairperson deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo to find that Makhubo was in “a corrupt relationship” with EOH.

“Chair, I am going to suggest that there was a corrupt relationship here. I am going to rely, in part, on the false statements he has made in relation to Molelwane,” said Chaskalson.

In response to the allegations, Makhubo said: “The whole thesis of counsel here is not correct. No one bought influence from me. I stated that we wanted to derive value and extract whatever was owed to Molelwane. So I disagree with the counsel.”

Further, the evidence leader accused Makhubo of not being truthful when he said he had resigned from Molelwane Consulting in 2011 and did not benefit financially from the company when some of the donations were made.

Chaskalson said: “The evidence is overwhelming that the payments made by EOH were made to buy your influence.

“I struggle to understand why you made these statements, which are so clearly false, about your relationship with Molelwane after 2011, and the only conclusion that I can reach is that you knew it was improper to benefit from Molelwane, and your primary income came from parties who were buying their influence from the City of Joburg where you were an office bearer.”

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