LETTER: SA Express responds to Financial Mail
We deny allegations that paint Tebogo Brian van Wyk as the mastermind behind alleged multimillion-rand corruption in the reopening of the Pilanesberg airport
In "SA Express: A Masterclass in Looting" (Cover Story, May 10-16), your story paints my client, Tebogo Brian van Wyk, as the mastermind behind alleged multimillion-rand corruption in the reopening of the Pilanesberg airport in the North West province. We deny these allegations.
The FM’s readers are rendered a major disservice in the story, which relies on allegations made by a discredited and disgruntled supplier, Babadi Tlatsana, who was strongly recommended by the provincial government at the time — not SA Express (my client’s erstwhile employer) — to stimulate localisation in the province. A high court judgment, which is publicly available, has found her to be a liar under oath and a forger.
Fraud charges were laid against Tlatsana with regard to this matter. She is the only person to face the court in this matter — both civil and criminal.
Tlatsana was the recipient of R22m in 2015 from the North West department of transport. She [allegedly] fraudulently removed her partner from her company and then allegedly began embezzling funds. That is why she was arrested.
Significantly, my client was not found guilty of any wrongdoing by an independent inquiry that ensued after his suspension. This information was corroborated by the then CEO, Inati Ntshanga — another fact that was brought to the attention of the FM through a supporting document.
My client has never been interviewed by investigators from either SA Express or their representatives, or the Hawks in respect of the allegations contained in the story.
Finally, my client is ready to subject himself to any lawful investigation by competent authorities. Indeed, he would welcome any investigation to clear his name.
Thami Letsomo, attorney for former SA Express manager Tebogo Brian van Wyk
• The editor replies: Tebogo Brian van Wyk was given a right of reply prior to the story being published, but chose not to answer specific questions. Second, the SA Express forensic investigation found there to be truth to some of Babadi Tlatsana’s claims. Third, Vivien Natasen also made claims against Van Wyk and, when questioned about this, Van Wyk chose not to respond.