Brian Molefe tells of rift between him and Zondo official who lost a tender at Eskom
Durban - Former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe has revealed why he felt the secretary of the Zondo commission, Professor Itumeleng Mosala, was being vindictive towards him and his legal team.
The issue first came up on Tuesday when Molefe told the commission’s chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that he would prefer dealing directly with him as Mosala was seemingly bitter about an Eskom tender he once lost a few years back.
“I will give him your cellphone number, chair, because the secretary is not very helpful because he has issues. I think it has to do with the fact that he once lost a tender and lost a court case,” Molefe claimed while justifying his reluctance to send some documents to the commission via Mosala.
Zondo recommended that the documents be sent via another official of the commission, identified only as Jiyane.
Though Molefe did not elaborate on the tender while raising his concerns to Zondo, he later told Independent Media yesterday that the tender he was referring to was one by Westinghouse Electric Company, an American company which in May 2010 appointed Mosala as its regional vice president in South Africa.
“I can’t talk, but look up Westinghouse v Eskom in the Constitutional Court. Zondo was the judge and Mosala was part of Westinghouse. Ask him (Mosala) for comment,” Molefe said when asked to shed more light on the tender he was referring to.
When the spokesperson of the commission, Reverend Mbuyiselo Stemela, was asked for his comment regarding the allegations, he said the matter was dealt with by the commission on Wednesday and sent a link to the clip where Molefe explained to Zondo why he felt Mosala was being vindictive.
He said Mosala’s team issued a vague summons for him to appear before the commission and when his legal team enquired about whether the evidence was related to his time at Transnet and Eskom, they got no answers.
He said that they made only made headway when they wrote directly to Zondo, but still Mosala’s “demeanour” worried him and his legal team.
“We wrote numerous letters asking what are we coming to appear for and those were not answered right through December and January. We appeared here on the 15th of January after having being told perhaps after a week before that it was indeed going to be on Eskom and the documents that were given to us were only given to us a week before we came,” Molefe claimed.
He added that the manner in which they were treated left a lot to be desired.
“The only conclusion that I could arrive at was that he was aggrieved because he had lost a Westinghouse deal and I had not intervened as he had requested at the time,” Molefe said.
According to a media summary of the Constitutional Court case regarding the tender, a company called Areva was in 2014 awarded an Eskom tender for the replacement of the steam generators at the Koeberg nuclear power station in Cape Town.
One of the bidders that lost out was Westinghouse which had in May 2010 appointed Mosala as its vice president for South Africa.
Eskom’s bid committee argued that they lost because there was very little to differentiate between Areva’s bid and the bid submitted by Westinghouse Belgium on behalf of Westinghouse Electric Company LLC (Westinghouse USA).
“There were differences of opinion among different committees within Eskom as to which of the two companies should be awarded the tender. In August 2014 the BTC of Eskom awarded the tender to Areva. Westinghouse Belgium brought a review application in the high court to have the award reviewed and set aside. Both Eskom and Areva opposed the application.
“The Supreme Court of Appeal also dismissed Areva’s contention that Westinghouse Belgium had no standing to challenge the award of the tender to Areva. It held that Eskom had committed various irregularities in the manner in which it handled the tender and that its award of the tender to Areva was unlawful. It turned down Westinghouse Belgium’s plea that the tender be awarded to it and instead remitted it to Eskom for reconsideration. In the light of this conclusion, it dismissed Areva’s cross-appeal in relation to costs,” reads the Concourt’s media summary.
Areva and Eskom then applied to the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal against the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal and they eventually won the appeal.