Former Eskom manager describes the 'last straw' that forced him out

Eskom headquarters, MegaWatt Park, in Sunninghill, Johannesburg.
Eskom headquarters, MegaWatt Park, in Sunninghill, Johannesburg.
Image: John Liebenberg

In an emotional end to his testimony at the state capture inquiry, former Eskom fuel sourcing manager Johann Bester said he could not confide in, nor trust, his superiors.

Breaking into tears, Bester told deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo on Tuesday that it was a "tragedy" that Eskom officials were suspended or forced out because they would not comply with unscrupulous decisions by their managers.  

"Even though I had been at Eskom probably not as long as some of the colleagues I referred to ... these are people that I could look up to, that I could trust. When they had been removed or left, I definitely didn't have someone in [Vusi] Mboweni that I could confide in. He wouldn't give me guidance.

"I knew I couldn't trust [Matshela] Koko. It was clear that [Ayanda Ntetha] was being influenced and put pressure on from the executive going over me. It was clear that they wanted to replace me," Bester said.  

"It’s just a tragedy what happened to some of the people. The last straw came when I thought I could still make a difference.

"About a year before I resigned, towards the end of 2014, I wrote a paper to the board ... that if Eskom didn’t spend R25bn on cost-plus contracts in the next five years, the cost of that would be R92bn ... it never reached the board."

Bester asked for five minutes to compose himself.

On Monday, he told the commission that he resigned from the utility because his wife threatened to leave him. "She was aware of my unhappiness and I would bring my unhappiness home," Bester said.

Koko was at the time the group executive for generation.

Bester testified that he was under significant pressure as of 2015 and realised that Ntetha, who was his subordinate at the time, was being directly engaged by Koko.

Next, the commission will hear testimony from Standard Bank's head of compliance, Ian Sinton.  

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