Ousted Petro SA Chairman Kgadima on Business Day Editor: "Mr Zibi is a liar!"

Ousted Petro SA Chairman Tshepo Kgadima is in the middle of court proceedings to challenge his appointment and withdrawal thereof to the top position there. Speaking to 702's John Robbie, he unpacked this:

The legal position from the counsel that I've received is that my constitutional rights to procedural fairness were violated by the board of (the) Central Energy Fund and the legal principle that in this country is cherished of 'audi alteram partem' ('hear the other side too'), was not observed in my case before any adverse action could have been taken against me. On that basis, I most certainly have to challenge this, because the lie that has been repeated over and over again - where now globally, there's now more than 400 articles published about me with these false allegations. If I don't go out and refute - with evidence - these allegations, most certainly then I will be destroyed as a professional and I cannot allow that.

There have meanwhile also been reports of Kgadima's additional activities in 'bogus' investments, following former cabinet minister Zola Skweyiya's claims:

Ambassador Zola Skweyiya is not an investor, has never been an investor and has never given me personally any money as has been reported. I don't think he is mistaken, particularly when I take into account the history which I put out to him on the events dating back to 2011 and he is yet to respond to that. His allegations are very serious because they've resulted in unprecedented harm, not only to my reputation and my character, but over 400 people lost their jobs and over R3 bil. of trade income on coal exports that was committed and the agreements are right here (he had documents in his hands), the letters of credit are right here and all of that is lost.

Spokesperson for the Skweyiya family, Dr Nkululeko Skweyiya, refutes Kgadima's claims:

He can't seem to tell a bone of truth. He went to the former minister's house and sat in his living room to explain what are so-called investments that he had and assets that he had. There's nothing else to tell, it's a known fact that his assets have been bogus and the only thing now is it's the mark of a desperate man, going around, trying to rally saying that he has been vilified. He keeps saying he's got proof - he had an opportunity to present that to the shareholders a long time ago, but through his own arrogance, it's led to come to this point.

Towards the end of November, Kgadima made headlines over a dramatic storming of the Business Day's offices:

I went to Business Day offices because three articles had been published which did not comply with the South African Press Code and they were false and they really show that there was malice involved. I then wanted to engage with the editor - the top man in Business Day, as I am the top man in the company that I work for - and it was important for me to ask him 'Does Business Day comply with the requirements of the South African Press Code? I took 27 minutes of video footage and that question was never answered. I also wanted to know about the very serious allegation where Mr Songezo Zibi and Mr Samuel Mungadze have been accused by a JSE-listed company in a police docket - which is awaiting the NPA decision for prosecution - that there was an attempt to extort R25 mil. from that company, in order for no publication or no articles to be written about that company. They continue to misrepresent the events of that day (the day Kgadima went to the Business Day offices) and the question is, why does Times Media continue to make me their project?

Meanwhile, Business Day Editor Songezo Zibi responded with fervour:

Tshepo should have brought these documents he speaks of to my office - he didn't. Instead, he has his phone and he asked if he could record me and the questions he asked me were 'Is your name Songezo Zibi?' And I said 'Yes, but you asked for me, why would you ask that?' He then asked 'are you the Editor of the Business Day?' 'do you adhere to the Press Code?' 'do you read all the articles in your newspaper?' and so forth. Eventually I said, 'listen Tshepo, I am out of time, because we are past deadline and we need to produce a newspaper - why are you here, what's your gripe so we can deal with it?' He wouldn't tell me.

Then I said 'go to the Ombudsman and if you're not happy with the outcome of the Ombudsman, you can take it further but I really don't have time, we have to move on'. He never, ever told us why he was there, that is the first thing.

Secondly, the newspaper that actually broke the story was the Sunday Times and curiously, he has never said anything to them. In fact, on our photographs - one of them, where he is leaving the premises, going through the turnstiles - the reporter right in front of him is Sibongakonke Shoba from the Sunday Times; he's never challenged him. I'm curious as to why he didn't bring the documents that he speaks of to my office.

On the criminal charges - our reporter Sam Mungadze was - by another company we had exposed for alleged improper practices - they claim that Sam was working with a business adversary of theirs, and they sent a forensic investigator; if Tshepo is willing to name him, I have no problem. We asked our IT department to go through Sam's emails and print them out and said we've gone through Sam's emails and we've found nothing. We've cooperated with the police - Tshepo is talking nonsense!

Kgadima's wrap on the issues was rather blunt:

Mr Songezo Zibi knows there is a 27 minute video which reveals everything that he said and therefore I can go on record saying that Mr Zibi is a liar!

Listen to the full conversation on 702's John Robbie Show, below:

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