Don’t know, cannot recall: Dudu Myeni’s son to Zondo commission

SKETCHY MEMORY: Thalente Myeni appeared before the state capture inquiry yesterday in connection with a R2m payment to his company
SKETCHY MEMORY: Thalente Myeni appeared before the state capture inquiry yesterday in connection with a R2m payment to his company

His company was paid R2m but he barely remembers anything.

This was the testimony of Dudu Myeni’s son, Thalente Myeni, at the state capture inquiry on Monday.

Thalente, despite the payment to his company, Premier Attraction, from Durban company  VNA, claimed he could not recall whether there was a written or verbal agreement.

He was grilled by commission evidence leader advocate Kate Hofmeyr.

“There has to be a reason for a payment. I do not just receive payments,” Thalente said.

Hofmeyr asked: “Is that the basis for receiving the R2m from VNA?”

Thalente replied: “What do you mean?”

“The evidence you have just given,” Hofmeyr responded.

“I am not saying it is a verbal agreement because I cannot recall.

“But I am saying there would have been an agreement of sorts, whether verbal or written,” Thalente said.

Barely a minute later, Thalente could again “not recall” whether there was an agreement, written or verbal.

The R2m payment, he said, was for work he did for VNA for a housing development project in Mpumalanga in 2015.

His company did consulting services.

VNA claimed Thalente’s company subcontracted other companies and provided them with those reports, but he got the payment for having done no work.

“I am sure if you ask those companies, they do not even know me,” he said.

His memory would fail him again when pressed on the number of occasions he met VNA about the housing project.

“We met many times but I cannot recall how many times,” he said.

Thalente could also not recall the number of employees his company had at any given time since its formation in 2007.

He finished giving his evidence at lunch time on Monday.

The commission also heard  how former Mhlathuze Water board chair Dudu Myeni was close to a “Mr X”, whose company was allegedly used to siphon off money from the water authority.

Mr X, who was granted permission to testify in camera, was giving evidence from a secret location.

He gave details on how Mboniseni Majola, an engineer at Mhlathuze Water, played a central part in the alleged scheme.

Mr X said he had known Myeni for a long time, since well before their dealings with the water authority, which happened between 2013 and 2016.

“I knew Dudu Myeni as the chairperson of the Mhlathuze Water board at the time, but I knew her from long ago, because we worked together at some point.

According to Mr X, he was approached by Majola, whom he also knew.

He said Majola introduced to him the alleged scheme, which would see his company, Isibonelo Construction, invoice the water board and other entities, before transferring money to other companies.

He said he did not know the companies he invoiced, nor those he paid.

He said Majola would come to his office and allegedly help his secretary to draw up the invoices by typing in the scope of work and amount.

Asked if he ever did any work for the money paid to his company, Mr X replied: “I never did any work.”

One such payment was R2.39m paid to Isibonelo in 2015.

“Mboniseni Majola came up with the scope of work. He would personally collect the invoice from my office,” Mr X said.

“He would come with a piece of paper with a description of what the invoice must pertain — the scope of work, amount. I never did any of that work [I was paid for].

“After he took the invoice and the payment came in, I would call to alert him and wait for his instruction on what was to happen next.”

Mr X will continue his testimony this morning.