Parliament - Eskom's suspended head of legal Suzanne Daniels on Wednesday told Parliament's inquiry into the parastatal that Ajay Gupta had told her he would put pressure on the deputy judge president's office to ensure that the court case on Brian Molefe's pension payout only be concluded after December 2017.
Daniels said she was contacted by Salim Essa, a prominent business associate of the Gupta brothers, on July 29 this year. He asked that she meet him for coffee at Melrose Arch, and then took her to a townhouse in the vicinity.
"As we walked into the lounge area, there were four people which I were introduced to: Mr Ajay Gupta, Mr Duduzane Zuma and Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Ben Martins and a Chinese lady whose name I cannot remember because at this point I was actually speechless," she told MPs.
Daniels said the discussion turned to the court case in which the R30 million pension payout to former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe is being challenged and Gupta, who was barefoot and dressed in grey track pants, asked "how far they are".
She replied that no date had been set and because more parties were joining the court proceedings there needed to be discussions with the deputy judge president's office.
"It was very difficult to understand him because he speaks with a very strong Indian accent. He said he will then have to talk to someone in the DJP's office and make sure the hearing takes place after December 2017."
Daniels said Gupta then said "something about Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma" but she had difficulty understanding what he was saying.
"I could not believe where I was and what I was hearing. There was some mumbling and then I left."
She said she felt threatened during the meeting and drove home afterwards in a state of shock.
"It felt like I was in a movie. I was really praying to God that they don't kill me because I thought I had walked into a trap."
Daniels also told the hearing that she has repeatedly received death threats and that there had been attempts to break into her home and to bully her on the road."
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) holds its elective conference in Johannesburg in December when the party will elect a new leadership.
When she was questioned by MPs about the meeting with Gupta, she said it was her impression that he was serious about influencing the hearing dates of the Molefe case and doing so with a view to the ANC conference "so that it would be more favourable than it looks now".
She said she subsequently instructed her colleagues to "make damn sure we get a hearing date before December".
Daniels said it her second uncomfortable meeting with Essa at Melrose Arch.
The first followed after now suspended acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko, at the time the group executive for technology, called her to a meeting there.
Koko took her to Essa's office and he proceeded to ask her about disciplinary proceedings at Eskom.
"He asked what would have to be done if you wanted to suspend people," she said.
She said she was surprised at the line of questioning and explained that it was a fairly onerous process and that anybody charged had to be given a chance to respond to allegations leveled against them.
Essa then told her that CEO Tshediso Matona, financial director Tsholofelo Molefe, group executive for group capital Dan Marokane and Koko would be suspended within the space of days.
He then proceeded to sketch out to me what was going to be happening in the next couple of days. He told me Matona, Molefe, Koko and Marakano would suspended and there would be an investigation into Eskom and the board would communicate this in due course.
"Little did I know it would happen the next day."
The four executives were suspended in March 2015. Only Koko has remained an employee at Eskom.
Daniels said she had cause to believe that he would also survive the current disciplinary process against him, describing it as a sham.
Matona and Molefe have given evidence before the inquiry.
African News Agency