Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo chairs the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo chairs the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

LIVE FEED: State Capture Inquiry, January 24, 2020

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jan 24, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Zondo commission will hear Transnet related evidence this morning.

The commission will hear evidence from Transnet internal communications specialist Joseph Frank and from a former Transnet board member. 

On Thursday, the inquiry heard evidence from former Eskom board chairperson Zola Tsotsi. 

Tsotsi told the commission of how former public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba had forced the appointment of former Eskom CEO Collin Matjila. 

Former Eskom board chairperson Zola Tsotsi took the stand on Thursday and told the commission that following former CEO Brian Dames' departure there was a need for an acting CEO. The board at the time, in 2014, decided that none of the board members would act as CEO and that one of the executives would be chosen. 

WATCH THE LIVE FEED HERE:


It was decided that Steve Lennon, who was a group executive, would act as CEO. 

Tsotsi said he had discussions with Gigaba about appointing Lennon and at the time Gigaba agreed. Months later, Gigaba did a u-turn and chastised Tsotsi in a phone call over the appointment of Lennon as he was a white man. Gigaba took issue with Lennon’s appointment ahead of the 2014 general elections. 

Tsotsi said he was taken aback by Gigaba’s change of heart on the matter. 

"I was taken aback. His manner was surprising. I managed to calm him down and have a proper conversation with him." 

Gigaba later told Tsotsi that Matjila should be appointed as acting CEO. Matjila was a board member and his appointment contradicted the decision that was taken by the board at the time that none of the board members would act in the position. He said board members were unhappy about being forced to choose Matjila and not one of Eskom’s executives. 

Matjila was appointed in an acting position and he went on to play a critical role in signing a deal with Gupta owned The New Age (TNA). The commission’s focus on Tsotsi’s evidence was largely based on the decisions taken by the company to pay for sponsorship deals with TNA regarding its televised business breakfasts. The breakfasts were hosted live on SABC’s Morning Live show. 

The events have been largely seen as controversial and as “quick money-making scheme” for the Guptas. Several state-owned enterprises poured millions in advertising revenue to support breakfast events. 

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