Former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan at the commission of inquiry into state capture. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL
Former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan at the commission of inquiry into state capture. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL

Former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan says she was fired from the cabinet in 2010 after bumping heads with then president Jacob Zuma over appointments at state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Hogan told the state-capture inquiry on Tuesday that while she was waiting for Zuma to respond to a request for a meeting regarding the appointment of a new Transnet board and chair, she was told she was being dismissed.

Zuma, his son Duduzane and the Gupta family are at the centre of state-capture allegations under investigation by the commission, with the families standing accused of using their political influence to benefit financially from procurement contracts at state-owned enterprises, notably Transnet and Eskom.

Hogan said she had been trying to table a memo to have the new board appointments and chair approved by the cabinet, but Zuma would not allow it. This came after he barred her from appointing a new Transnet group CEO following the departure of Maria Ramos in 2009, insisting that Siyabonga Gama be given the job, despite Gama facing serious allegations of misconduct at the time. Gama was eventually fired from Transnet in 2010, before Hogan was axed. He later successfully challenged his dismissal and returned to Transnet in 2011, working his way up to group CEO. He was fired again in October 2018, but is challenging that decision in the courts. 

Hogan also testified on Tuesday that Zuma interfered after the Eskom board terminated the contract of former CEO Jacob Maroga in 2009, demanding that he be allowed to continue. 

On Sunday October 31 2010, Hogan was called to a meeting with Zuma where then ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe was present. ‘‘I met with the president and Mr Mantashe and  [Zuma] said the national executive committee had decided that I ought to be redeployed as the ambassador to Finland,’’ Hogan said.

She said she declined the offer and resigned from parliament. 

Hogan was replaced by Malusi Gigaba, who has been accused of being central to the state-capture scandal by ensuring the boards of SOEs were littered with Gupta associates. Gigaba resigned as home affairs minister on Tuesday after the public protector and the high court found that he lied under oath, a ruling that was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Hogan said she spent the night clearing out her office at home and went back to her ministerial office the next day to hand over documents. She said she also asked her secretary to organise a handover meeting with Gigaba. However, Gigaba  declined the meeting.

Hogan said the Transnet memo she had proposed to the cabinet was withdrawn after she was axed, and two weeks later, at the next cabinet meeting, Gigaba put forward a proposal for a new Transnet board, which was approved. She said Gigaba had recommended some of the names she had put forward.

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