PARLIAMENT - Former South African Airways chairwoman Dudu Myeni, who has been named in the inquiry as being one of the people who interferred in the affairs of Eskom, was a no show at a parliamentary inquiry on Wednesday.
Myeni, a close ally of former president Jacob Zuma, was meant to testify at the inquiry looking into corruption and other governance scandals at the state-owned electricity utility after a former Eskom chairman implicated her in intereference.
Committee chairwoman Zukiswa Rantho told MPs that Myeni exchanged a series of text messages with the committee secretary stating that her lawyer was "not around" and that her legal representatives needed more time to prepare. The lawyer was only briefed on Tuesday.
"Up to now we have an SMS, not a formal letter. Parliament wrote her a formal letter," said Rantho.
MPs were incensed.
"We've got another example here of a witness given due notice to be here. I don't accept that explanation. it's very clear there are delaying tactics at play here," said African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart.
The African National Congress (ANC) and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) suggested another letter be written to Myeni to appear before the inquiry next week or face being issued with a summons.
Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Natasha Mazzone accused Myeni of playing games and said instead of again inviting her to appear as a witness, she should be immediately summonsed.
"It's most unfortunate that we have to summons someone to come and do their country duty," said Mazzone.
In November last year, former Eskom chairman Zola Tsotsi told the inquiry he met Myeni at the Durban presidential residence in early 2015. Tsotsi testified that Myeni told him moves were afoot to get rid of then chief executive Tshediso Matona and two other executives.
Tsotsi said he found the meeting shocking and that he told Myeni the suspension of the executives was "a recipe for inducing instability in the company", to which Myeni replied that the executive would not be accused of wrongdoing but shifted aside so the inquiry could "proceed unencumbered by their presence".
This was the position reported in the media when the three were suspended in 2015.
African News Agency/ANA