Vittorio Massone, former managing partner of Bain’s offices in South Africa, was introduced to former president Jacob Zuma and suspended SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane by the creator and executive producer of the TV show Muvhango, Duma Ndlovu.
Bain’s work since September 2014, when Moyane became Sars commissioner, including reworking the tax collector’s operating model and structure at a cost of R204 million, has been found to be a waste of money and actually damaged the entity’s ability to collect tax.
In an affidavit submitted to the Nugent commission of inquiry into Sars, Massone said: “I had met with Zuma and Moyane. At no stage did any meeting or encounter have any improper motive, nor were my engagements aimed at securing work for Bain & Company without following due process or at any cost.”
Since submitting his affidavit, Bain notified the inquiry that Massone was ill, unavailable to testify in South Africa and was in Italy.
When Bain testified at the inquiry at the end of September, it sent Stuart Min, general counsel at Bain, who flew in from the US.
Regarding his meetings with Zuma, Massone said that “these meetings happened over the course of a long time”.
“I had no control or influence over, or input into, the appointment of Moyane. I was not involved or consulted in this decision in any way. I was introduced to Zuma by [Sipho Maseko, the CEO of Telkom]. Most of the meetings with Zuma were scheduled and arranged by Ndlovu.
City Press contacted Maseko on Friday but he said he wasn’t aware of Massone’s affidavit and couldn’t comment. Ndlovu said he knew Massone, but asked for questions to be sent to him. He had not responded by the time of publication.
“Almost all of the meetings with Zuma took place at his official residence in Pretoria … I should say in advance that I have never been to Nkandla. Most of the meetings happened between 2012 and 2014,” Massone added.
Massone first met Zuma on August 11 2012 with Maseko and Ndlovu in attendance. In the affidavit, he details at least 12 different meetings with Zuma – the last of which was on July 28 2014.
Bain submitted its documents for a tender at Sars on December 11 2014.
“I was told by Ndlovu that Moyane had approached him and asked for an introduction to Bain because he had heard about Bain’s successful work at Telkom and wished to understand more about how Bain worked,” Massone said.
“I was introduced to Ndlovu by Sipho Maseko. At the time, I remember that Ndlovu had been an activist from KwaZulu-Natal during the apartheid regime and that, at one stage, he fled to the US and started to work in the media industry. Ndlovu is probably better known for the production of a local soap opera Muvhango.
“My introduction to Ndlovu resulted in a professional relationship and he acted as an external consultant to Bain, initially on an informal basis, and then under a business development and stakeholder management contract running from November 1 2013 to December 2016.”
The actual contract was between Bain SA and Ambrobrite, which is a “communications, events, project management and strategic stakeholder management specialist company formed by Ndlovu and his partner, Mandla KaNozulu”.
“Ambrobrite focuses on the public sector and on the communications and entertainment industries. This mainly assisted my introduction to the public sector.
"It is common practice in the consulting industry to hire well-connected advisers to make introductions to executives and senior leaders,” Massone said.
“I have asked the accounting team at Bain to confirm the exact amount paid to Ambrobrite and I shall advise the commission as soon as this is confirmed.
“It was through Ambrobrite that I was introduced to various key leaders, decision makers and executives from the public sector, including Moyane and Zuma.
“Ndlovu’s contribution to Bain’s business and general understanding of the South African culture was of great significance to Bain and me … This allowed me to be relevant and effective in my dealings with South African executives and political leaders,” Massone added.
“Ndlovu told me Moyane had the ambition to become the next commissioner of Sars. The position had recently become vacant following the resignation of Oupa Magashula in July 2013.
“The purpose of the introduction to Bain was for Bain to advise Moyane [referred to in the consultancy world as ‘CEO coaching’] on how to achieve his professional goals.
“My meetings with Moyane are to be understood in the context of how Bain [and I] operate regarding the development of CEOs in the private sector.”
Massone details eight meetings he had with Moyane before he become Sars commissioner, starting with a meeting on October 13 2013 and ending with a meeting on August 28 2014.
At the February 25 2014 meeting, Massone bumped into Moyane while waiting for a meeting with Zuma at the presidential residence in Cape Town.
At the August 28 2014 meeting, Massone met with Moyane, Ndlovu and Jonas Makwakwa – now former Sars chief of business and individual taxes – at Bain’s offices in Johannesburg.