NATIONAL NEWS & VIDEO - Former South African Airways (SAA) board member and chair of SAA Technical (SAAT), Yakhe Kwinana, has denied a claim that she wanted to solicit a bribe from an American-based aviation services provider.
On her second day of testimony at the State Capture Commission, Kwinana called the witness who made the claim – founding member of SRS Aviation Sibongile Rejoice Sambo – a “pathological” and “blatant liar” for making the allegation that she, Kwinana, wanted to solicit a R100 million bribe from the AAR Corporation, for the American company to score a contract at SAAT. SRS Aviation was AAR Corporation’s BEE partner.
Kwinana told the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that firstly, Sambo needed proof to back her allegation, and secondly, that Sambo needed to answer the question why she, Kwinana, would approach Sambo to assist in soliciting the bribe at a time when Sambo had no relationship with AAR and she, Kwinana, could approach the company herself.
Kwinana welcomed the commission’s investigators to look into the bribe allegation.
Evidence leader at the commission, Advocate Kate Hofmeyr, asked Kwinana if she considered the former head of procurement at SAAT, Nontsasa Memela, to also be a pathological liar.
“I don’t know,” Kwinana responded, adding that during their time working together, Memela had never proven herself a liar.
Hofmeyr then put before the commission a WhatsApp message, allegedly from Memela to Sambo – which Sambo provided to the commission – where Memela mentions the allegation that Kwinana, Sambo and another individual, had negotiated with AAR’s Cheryle Jackson for a bribe and that Jackson later changed her mind and reneged.
“I consider this as nonsense,” Kwinana said, reiterating that she “definitely” did not solicit a bribe from AAR and that she does not know why Memela would say such in the WhatsApp messages.
Testifying before the commission earlier this year, Memela told Zondo it was her first time seeing the WhatsApp messages when she appeared at the commission.
Memela’s legal representative at the time requested to check the authenticity of the messages.
Watch the State Capture Commission live here.