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State capture at Eskom: the story so far

Eskom Chair Zola Tsotsi.
Eskom Chair Zola Tsotsi.
Image: RUSSELL ROBERTS/Business Day

As MPs on Parliament’s public enterprises committee dig into issues of state capture at Eskom‚ stories of corruption and meddling have emerged.

Here's what you need to know about the startling claims made so far:

1) Last week‚ evidence was led which linked President Jacob Zuma to state capture at Eskom for the first time. Former SAA chair Dudu Myeni invited then-CEO Zola Tsotsi to Zuma’s home in Durban‚ where the suspension of members of the Eskom board was discussed. Four board members were later suspended‚ creating space for Brian Molefe to become CEO.

2)Former CEO of financial advisory firm Trillian‚ Mosilo Mothepu‚ told the committee that she believed Brian Molefe and Anoj Singh had been moved from Transnet to Eskom in order to make it the next “cash cow”. Molefe said he joined Eskom at the height of load-shedding because he was “angry” after trying to do some banking and fighting the Sandton traffic during a day of load-shedding.

3) Eskom’s former corporate secretary‚ Suzanne Daniels‚ told the committee that she arrived at a meeting in Melrose Arch earlier this year at which Salim Essa‚ Duduzane Zuma‚ Ajay Gupta and deputy minister Ben Martins were discussing trying to use contacts in the judicial system to ensure that matters relating to Molefe’s exit from Eskom – and the massive pension he was due to receive – were only heard after the ANC conference in December. Martins has denied the meeting.

4) Tsotsi also told the committee that he‚ too‚ had walked into a meeting to find Essa and one of the Gupta brothers present – this time at the home of Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. Brown has denied the claims.

5) Spokesman for the Eskom board‚ Khulani Qoma‚ raised some eyebrows when in his testimony earlier in the inquiry he called Brown a “liar” and accused her of not being able to do her job. He said that Brown was surrounded by people linked to corrupt activities‚ but expected people to believe she was untouched. Brown has denied the claims.

6)When McKinsey executive David Fine appeared before the committee to explain the company’s contracts with Eskom and links to Trillian‚ he announced that the company would be paying back more than R1-billion that Eskom paid the company for work done‚ no matter what the courts find – because the company did not want to be associated with “tainted” money.

7) Former Eskom CEO Brian Dames told the inquiry that an advisor to then-Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba had set up a meeting with some people he had wanted him to meet. Dames said the “people”‚ who turned out to include one of the Gupta brothers‚ had wanted to discuss securing coal contracts with him.

8)Business rescue practitioner Piers Marsden told the committee how he had been approached by an executive of a Gupta-linked company‚ who asked him to secure additional bank funding to purchase the Optimum coal mine – just hours before a special Eskom meeting was held at which a pre-payment of the same amount required to fund the purchase was made to the Gupta-owned Tegeta company.

9) Some witnesses have testified that as a result of their speaking out‚ their lives have either been threatened or destroyed. Daniels said she had received numerous threats‚ while Mothepu‚ a major whistle-blower‚ has been unable to work since.

10) Evidence leader Ntuthuzelo Vanara has claimed in an affidavit that State Security Minister Bongani Bongo attempted to bribe him in order to halt the inquiry and stop information from coming out. The Black First Land First movement has threatened to interdict the inquiry‚ while the Department of Public Enterprises has approached the state law advisors‚ who wrote to Vanara threatening to report him to the bar council for unethical behaviour.


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