LIVE FEED: State Capture Inquiry - February 10, 2021
Johannesburg - The Zondo commission will continue to hear Eskom-related evidence today.
Former Eskom board member Venete Klein is expected to take the stand.
The commission is also due to hear evidence from former Eskom board members Viroshini Naidoo and Dr Pathmanathan Naidoo.
Yesterday, a former senior Eskom official revealed that the power utility tasked its former chief financial officer, Anoj Singh, with negotiating a discount that a Gupta-owned company had offered.
Dr Ayanda Nteta, who was Eskom’s fuel resources senior manager until April 2018, told the commission that she was informed by the power utility’s board tender committee that Singh would negotiate a discount with Gupta-owned Tegeta Resources.
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This was despite Tegeta Resources offering Eskom a 3.5% discount, yet the committee, which was chaired by the power utility’s former acting chief executive and board member Zethembe Khoza, informed officials that Singh would negotiate the discount.
Nteta testified that Tegeta Resources had made the offer to her but the committee decided that Singh would negotiate a discount.
According to evidence leader Pule Seleka, the committee was not told that Tegeta Resources had offered a discount.
”There was no negotiation to be made as Tegeta had already made the offer of a discount,” Seleka said.
He said there was no evidence that Singh negotiated a discount and that, at the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom’s affairs, he had indicated that he could not recall with whom ho he had negotiated the discount.
Nteta said Tegeta Resources chief executive Ravindra Nath told her that the R659 million prepayment the Gupta company wanted was for the operations of the mine.
She told the commission that Nath informed her that the prepayment made in April 2016 was to fund the production requirements of the export component of its soon-to-be-acquired Optimum Coal mine.
Nteta admitted that she should have received the Tegeta Resources offer before writing the submission to the committee, as that was best practice.
”You were helping Tegeta come up with a reason that would justify the prepayment; that’s the impression it creates,” said Seleka.
Nteta said Tegeta Resources told her it wanted a prepayment verbally but she did not delve into the details of that, leaving it to other Eskom officials who dealt with prepayments.
She said that when she engaged with Tegeta Resources she was the person acquiring the asset and therefore should not have been be dealing with payments.
”I was focusing on the acquisition of the coal,” she maintained.
Nteta said Nath sent the pro forma invoice for the R659m the day after making her submission to the committee.
She said it was unusual to receive an invoice because she did not get them in the normal course of her duties – invoices were sent to finance.
An Eskom finance official later told her they knew nothing about the invoice.
She forwarded the invoice to Eskom chief procurement officer Edwin Mabelane and former company secretary Suzanne Daniels.
Seleka said Eskom officials took extraordinary means to assist Tegeta Resources.
Nteta denied this.
”I felt I should inform them before I send a pro forma invoice,” she said.
Five other witnesses are scheduled to give evidence at the commission today and tomorrow, including Daniels, the power utility's former board members Venete Klein, Dr Pat Naidoo, Viroshini Naidoo and Mark Pamensky.