Former environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane. Evidence leader Viwe Notshe SC questioned Mokonyane’s ability to afford an Aston Martin. Picture: GCIS
Former environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane. Evidence leader Viwe Notshe SC questioned Mokonyane’s ability to afford an Aston Martin. Picture: GCIS

How former environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane acquired a luxury Aston Martin vehicle came up again at the state capture hearings on Thursday with the evidence leader wanting to know where she got the money to buy it.

The vehicle became the subject of an investigation after testimony in July 2020 by Charl le Roux, an electrician who did work for Bosasa at Mokonyane’s house. Le Roux spotted the vehicle inside a garage and mentioned it as one of the outstanding items he remembered seeing at Mokonyane’s house after being sent there by the company.

Le Roux’s testimony followed that of former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi, who led evidence that Mokonyane had received monthly payments from the company.

While Mokonyane’s appearance at the commission was expected to be about her relationship with Bosasa, she questioned what sparked the “curiosity” of the commission on the Aston Martin.

“You will remember Mr Agrizzi said you were paid sums of money cash by Gavin Watson, and now you have a car which is more than R3m and there’s a deposit of R2m. We needed to investigate where you got the money from,” evidence leader Viwe Notshe SC, said.

An investigation by the commission found that a deposit of R2.2m was paid towards Mokonyane’s car.

Notshe questioned Mokonyane’s ability to afford the car, as her  salary then could not cover it. Mokonyane said it was bought through a “business arrangement” with a family friend.

“My husband had been doing some work. He had ventured into a very closed sector of business. He had people who were mentoring and supporting him, and they could see it was a good business which had a chance of growing,” she said during testimony on Thursday.

She said she and her husband met two family friends, one identified as Thaba Mufamadi, who agreed to pay the deposit for the car.

“He [her husband] then made arrangement with the friends, who are not doing business with the government, and they were able to make this assistance. In return, they were going to be part of his partnership on the work of the Eskom contract. That’s how the deposit was made,” she told the commission.

However, Mokonyane said she felt the need to contribute towards the vehicle because “I have my own pride”.

The commission revealed she paid just more than R20,000 in monthly instalments and almost R900,000 in total.

She said there had been nothing untoward with the gesture of the friends.

“We are a family that has got friends who understood our pain of always being deprived of opportunities.

“It was a business arrangement to say, ‘look, we want to enter the space and you are into it and I am being taken from pillar to post to get into [it].' They said, ‘look, we are going to assist you because you have this bid that you have made’,”said Mokonyane.

Asked if the arrangement was contained in a document, Mokonyane said it would have been between the trio.

Notshe questioned if the arrangement was a loan or not.

“My take is that if we get through that Eskom deal, finally, surely, they will be invited to be a part of it. We will have to pay him back if this thing does not go anywhere,” Mokonyane replied.

The commission will resume its public hearings on Friday.

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