Minister Lynne Brown

Parliament - Former Eskom board chairman Zola Tsotsi gave chilling testimony in Parliament on Wednesday detailing how the Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma interfered in the running of the power utility.

Tsotsi also mentioned the bizarre role former South African Airways board chairwoman Dudu Myeni played in facilitating discussions between him and Zuma. She also initiated the suspension of former Eskom executives.

Tstotsi was the chairman of the Eskom board between 2011 and 2015.

The former chairman was speaking during Parliament’s inquiry into state capture at State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) that is being carried out by the public enterprise committee.

Tsotsi said his hands were “tied” on many occasions as the decision of who was appointed on the Eskom board was being facilitated by the Gupta brothers, namely Tony Gupta, and their associate Salim Essa with the assistance of Public Enterprise Minister Lynne Brown.

He said he was called into a meeting at Brown’s house, in December 2015, where he found Essa and Tony Gupta present. The meeting was to discuss broad appointments.

"There is a clear association between Minister Brown and the Gupta family."

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Tony Gupta had told Tsotsi that he was not "helping us". He even threatened that he was the one who appointed him and he would be the one to remove him.

Tsotsi said Essa would write up the list of board allocations and would hand it over to him, and he would forward it to the minister. Brown apparently objected to new names being added by Tsotsi  and would instead go with the list provided by Essa.

Another shocking revelation by Tsotsi was when he explained the meeting between him, Myeni and Zuma. He said he was called by Myeni in March 2015 to meet with Zuma in Durban at his house. When Tsotsi arrived, he found Myeni, her son and a lawyer.

He was told by Myeni that an inquiry at Eskom had to take place and that three executives had to be suspended while the inquiry is underway. The executives were former CEO Tshediso Matona, Matshela Koko and Dan Marokane.  

 “I found this matter altogether shocking and proceeded to question the need for suspending these executives as I saw this as a recipe for inducing instability in the company,” Tsotsi said.

He went on to facilitate the suspension of the executives with the board.

Tsotsi was grilled by members of Parliament specifically about the involvement of Myeni in Eskom affairs. 

He was also asked by the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu whether he was sure he meet with Brown in the presence of the Guptas, Tsotsi said “yes”. Brown had previously denied meeting any of the Gupta brothers.

The minister appeared at the inquiry after Tsotsi. She denied delegating her decision making role to the Gupta family or Essa.

She hit back at Tsotsi saying she was concerned that he had met with Zuma to discuss Eskom affairs without speaking to her first. 

The inquiry continues. 

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