Koko wants Ramaphosa to answer claims of interference at Eskom

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Mar 29, 2021

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Johannesburg - Former Eskom head of generation Matshela Koko says he won’t rest until President Cyril Ramaphosa is called to answer questions on allegations of interference at the power utility.

Koko returned to the witness stand on Monday to answer Eskom-related evidence at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

When the former Eskom executive appeared in December he had made a string of allegations against Ramaphosa.

He alleged that the former president had interfered in the running of the state-owned entity and had been behind his 2015 suspension from the company.

Koko and three other executives were suspended in March 2015 while an investigation into Eskom was being conducted.

He was the only executive who returned while the others reached settlements and departed.

Koko maintained that Ramaphosa had interfered in the running of Eskom between 2012 and 2014.

He claimed that Ramaphosa had done this because of a debt of over R1 billion owed by the Optimum coal mine, which was then owned by Glencore.

Koko believes that Ramaphosa’s interference was linked to ensuring that this debt was not paid back.

The Optimum coal mine was later acquired by Gupta-linked Tegeta.

On Monday, Koko began his testimony by asking the commission’s chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, whether Ramaphosa had been issued with a rule 3.3 notice regarding these claims.

He said he would not be able to rest at night if Ramaphosa did not come and answer the allegations.

“I just want to find out if Mr Ramaphosa has been served with a rule 3.3 notice like we all have. Because I really want to know why Mr Ramaphosa interfered in the affairs of Eskom by instructing the board of Eskom, which was yet to meet, to dismiss me - an instruction that the Labour Court found to be unlawful because, just after I left, between 2018 and 2020 R266bn was lost as a result of load shedding that occurred after I left.”

Advocate Pule Seleka, the evidence leader for the commission, first took issue with the fact that Koko had never mentioned these allegations in his affidavit. Koko said he had done so, but had just cited it as the “presidency”.

Seleka assured Koko that the president had been given a transcript of his claims and that they should respond.

The claims made by Koko were also made by former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe when he appeared at the inquiry in January.

Molefe said Ramaphosa was a chairperson of Optimum Coal Mine, which was owned by Glencore, in 2012, where he also held a shareholding of 9.64%.

He further said that Glencore sought to renegotiate the contract it had with the power utility, which would have seen it pay more than R150 per ton for coal and also dismiss the penalties set by the entity.

Molefe added that Ramaphosa was conflicted.

The ANC leader is expected to appear at the inquiry from April 22 and 23 and on April 28 and 29.

He will testify as the president of the ANC, but Justice Zondo also wants him to answer to his role as deputy president of the country.

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Political Bureau

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