Dudu Myeni 'was powerful', State capture inquiry hears

28th January 2019 By: African News Agency

Dudu Myeni 'was powerful', State capture inquiry hears

Former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni
Photo by: Creamer Media

Former South African Airways (SAA) board chairperson and head of the Jacob Zuma Foundation (JZF), Dudu Myeni, was paid R300 000 monthly by Bosasa as she was powerful and ''very close'' to former president Jacob Zuma, Bosasa's former COO Angelo Agrizzi testified on Monday.

Agrizzi said a designer hand bag from the Louis Vuitton stable was purchased and stuffed with R300 000 cash earmarked for the JZF. The cash handovers happened several times at the Sheraton Hotel and at Bosasa premises, Agrizzi told the Zondo Commission into State capture in Johannesburg.

''There were a few occasions of cash payments... I was merely present when that happened, [Bosasa CEO Gavin] Watson handed over the cash on one occasion, other times it was Trevor Mathenjwa [Bosasa executive]. Myeni was close to the president and could swing deals, she was very powerful,'' he told the commission. 

Furthermore, Myeni would request Bosasa to assist the foundation with events, including Zuma's birthday celebrations. Myeni also furthered requested security upgrades for her home Agrizzi testified. 

''Watson asked us how we can impress Myeni. My wife suggested to me that we buy her a Louis Vuitton handbag. Watson said he hoped Myeni was giving the money to Zuma as intended. She was happy with the handbag...she told Watson that she was over the moon and delighted. Some time later when I saw her, she [Myeni] thanked me personally for the bag,'' Agrizzi said.

The cost of JZF functions to Bosasa was over R3.5-million at his last calculation, Agrizzi added.

Agrizzi read out a thank you letter signed by Myeni in which she thanked Bosasa for organising one of Zuma's birthday parties. Myeni wrote ''the family was thrilled to have a wonderful time with their father and enjoyed the dinner prepared with care. The chef's works was commended by everyone.''

Agrizzi said as time went on, Watson began to wonder whether Zuma was receiving the cash from Myeni, contemplating to deliver it himself. Watson and another Bosasa executive, Johannes Gumede, held a meeting with Zuma where the cash payments were discussed. Watson also gave R300 000 cash to Zuma in that meeting, said Agrizzi.

''Watson wanted to make sure that Dudu was not taking any of the cash earmarked for Zuma and the foundation. Watson said he asked Zuma if he did receive the cash, and he [Zuma], said yes,'' Agrizzi said.

As the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) began an investigation into alleged corruption by Bosasa, Watson and Gumede travelled to Nkandla, Zuma's homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, where the investigation was discussed. Agrizzi said Zuma told the two executives he would ''make phone calls'' to the Hawks.

''I think the call to the Hawks was made... because the Hawks later contacted Gumede, requesting a meeting,'' he said.