Former Public Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) chief executive Lucky Montana has accused Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo of bias and of not being committed to the truth.
Insisting that his complaint against the chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture could be one of the reasons behind the cancellation of his scheduled testimony last week, Montana said he was forced to seek legal advice on whether he should proceed with an application for Zondo’s recusal.
However, he would like to give the Deputy Chief Justice an opportunity to hear his side of the story before going ahead.
“I am accordingly, forced to seek legal advice on whether I must proceed with an application for the recusal of Zondo in this matter. However, before an application for recusal is made, I would like to inform Zondo of my intentions to give him the opportunity to reflect and avoid embarrassment and to hear his side of the story.
I believe this would be in the interest of justice to take such steps,” said Montana on his affidavit.
He said Zondo had shown extreme bias and unfairness in handling Prasa matters. Montana said Zondo and his team acted in violation of the terms of reference of the commission, which were to establish all the facts and the truth, including the duty to interview all those implicated in any allegations made before the commission.
“This fundamental principle of fairness and justice is articulated by Justice Dennis Davis in the application brought by Mr Leslie Sedibe on behalf of the former provincial SABC news editor, Mr Charles Matlou, against the findings of the Joe Thloloe Report, in respect of the editorial interference at the SABC.
In violation of this fundamental principle of fairness and justice, Zondo has been making statements and passing judgement based on versions of the complainant. In this case, Popo Molefe, Martha Ngoye, Fani Dingiswayo, and his investigator, Mr Clint Oellermann,” he said in his affidavit.
Montana said Zondo had been claiming that millions of the state’s fiscals were lost through corruption at Prasa and that the law enforcement agencies, including the Hawks, did nothing about the situation. Continuing with this false assertion, Zondo accused the Hawks of failing to act on the evidence provided by Popo Molefe.
“However, he failed to check the version of the Hawks, which is, in fact, before the courts.
“The Hawks had submitted an affidavit, made under oath, by one of its senior managers, General Khana. Its version as well as other correspondence between Prasa and the law enforcement agency clearly show that (1) the hawks had started the investigation and had prioritised the Swifambo and Siyangena matter as requested by Prasa; and (2) Popo Molefe and his Prasa team failed to provide solid evidence to support their claims to a criminal investigation.
He said Zondo repeated the claims based on the version provided by the complainant without hearing the version of those who were accused.
Zondo’s spokesperson, Mbuyiselo Stemela, said: “The commission confirms that the secretary of the commission has written to Mr Montana, and the answers to the questions are written in the letter sent to him. The commission does not discuss communication between the commission and its witness, and you may contact Mr Montana directly as he is the one who shared the information with the media.
“The commission always issues media advisory to inform members of the media and public about its proceedings.
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