Barbara Hogan slams ‘reckless', 'negligent’ Zuma

Former minister says the President 'hung her out to dry'

Former minister Barbara Hogan slams ‘reckless', 'negligent’ Zuma

14 November 2018

Former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan wrapped up her third day of testimony at the state capture inquiry by delivering strong condemnation of former president Jacob Zuma's "undue influence" over appointments at state-owned enterprises (SOE).

She slammed Zuma's actions relating to the appointment of Transnet and Eskom CEOs in 2010 and her testimony detailed how her ability to make crucial appointments to the SOEs was curtailed.

"The facts set out above bear testimony to my repeated and unsuccessful attempts to appoint a CEO at Transnet over one and a half years as well as appointments to the board," Hogan said.

"The conduct of President Zuma and certain members of his Cabinet in relation to Transnet and Eskom was not only negligent, it was reckless and designed to frustrate the sincere attempts of the boards of those SOEs to exercise their fiduciary duties and the exercise of sound corporate governance in their respective SOEs."

On Tuesday, Hogan testified that Zuma "hung her out to dry" while she faced immense pressure from some of her colleagues who wanted her to appoint Siyabonga Gama as Transnet CEO.

This was despite the fact that Gama faced disciplinary action for which he was later dismissed from Transnet, only to be rehired after Hogan was fired by Zuma in October 2010.

Zuma also called her when then Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga was axed and allegedly shouted at her over the phone.

"The above course of conduct by President Zuma in relation to Transnet and Eskom was improper and irregular. His conduct revealed at best, a fundamental misunderstanding and misconception of his role of President of South Africa and the exercise of his presidential duties and functions," Hogan said.

"His actions not only undermined me as the minister responsible for public enterprises, but undermined the efforts of the boards of Transnet and Eskom and many of their senior management who attempted to carry out their responsibilities and duties in a professional manner under very, very trying circumstances."

Hogan was asked to clarify her removal from Cabinet and what she thought the reasons for that were.

"It is not for me to speculate as to what the motives were for President Zuma in unduly and improperly influencing the appointment of CEOs and board members at certain SOEs – suffice to say, in my view, the actions as set out above resulted in severe and extremely detrimental consequences for Transnet and Eskom  - which consequences undermined and broke the morale of board staff and also resulted in severe reputational damages to these entities and negative consequences for their efficient functioning," she stated.

"We now know that this course of conduct escalated over the years and resulted in a litany of maladministration, abuse of resources and theft from SOEs in South Africa."

Evidence leader Phillip Mokoena also asked Hogan to clarify any meetings she had with the Gupta family.

She testified that in 2004 she and her late partner Ahmed Kathrada were invited by his long-time friend Essop Pahad to a luncheon where the Guptas were present.

"We had nothing to say to them. We ate and we left," she said.

Later, after she was axed as minister in 2010, Ajay Gupta arrived at a venue where she and Kathrada were having lunch with the Indian High Commissioner. They did not speak to him.

Hogan concluded her marathon testimony with some recommendations about the appointment of senior managers and board members of SOEs, saying the process required a far better framework and regulatory guidelines.

Former government spokesperson and ANN7 owner Mzwanele Manyi started testifying after Hogan.