Former Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane will testify at the Zondo commission. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Former Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane will testify at the Zondo commission. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

LIVE FEED: State Capture Inquiry – September 11, 2020

Time of article published Sep 11, 2020

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Johannesburg – Former Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane is expected to testify at the Zondo commission on Friday morning.

On Thursday, the inquiry heard evidence from a former Eskom board member, Venete Klein.

She offered a different version of former board chairperson Zola Tsotsi's leadership of Eskom's 2015 board.

Tsotsi had testified earlier this week that the board had turned against him leading up to his resignation at the end of March 2015.

At the time, on March 8, 2015, Tsotsi had attended a meeting at former president Jacob Zuma's home in Durban. The meeting was chaired by former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni who told him that an external inquiry into Eskom had to be conducted and three executives had to be suspended.

Zuma later joined the meeting and told Tsotsi to take this resolution to Eskom's board.

A brief Eskom meeting then took place on March 9 where Tsotsi presented the resolution he got from Myeni and asked the board to vote on it. The board members at the time asked for more time and wanted Brown, as the shareholder, to address them on the matter.

Another meeting was scheduled for March 11.

At that meeting, Tsotsi told the Zondo commission, Brown instructed the board to implement an inquiry in Eskom's affairs and that three executives, including former chief executiveTshediso Matona, had to be suspended. Tsotsi said Brown added that the then chief financial officer (CFO) had to be included in the suspension to ensure that the inquiry was not impeded.

Tsotsi said he was reluctant to push for a suspension of the executives and had expressed his concerns to Myeni.

On Thursday, Klein disputed this version and said according to her memory, Brown made it clear that she could not "instruct" the board.

"When I was listening yesterday, I cannot recall the minister adding or mentioning the financial director (CFO). My recollection was the minister said she would support whatever the board agreed to," Klein testified.

When she was presented with the affidavits from Eskom's company secretary and that of former Eskom board member Ben Ngubane, who both stated that Brown did mention the need to suspend all four executives, Klein conceded that her version might not be correct.

"Chairperson, like I said, I do not remember her saying this. I have to concede that is the right version," she said.

Klein said she supported the need for an inquiry into Eskom because of the motivations provided by Tsotsi.

"I absolutely supported the inquiry. I supported ( the suspensions) because the chairperson (Tsotsi) gave us reasons why he believed the suspensions should happen. The chairperson said there are four people he believed it would be best if they are not there," she said.

The inquiry resumes at 10am.

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