Former Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona. Picture: Chris Collingridge/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Former Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona. Picture: Chris Collingridge/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

LIVE FEED: State Capture Inquiry - September 7, 2020

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Sep 7, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Zondo commission resumes on Monday morning and will hear evidence from former Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona.

The commission this week is shifting its focus on the state-owned enterprise Eskom.

Matona was appointed as Eskom CEO in 2014. He was suspended six months after taking up the post along with other Eskom executives. He left the struggling power utility in 2015 following an agreement with Eskom's board.

The commission's investigation into Eskom has largely centred around the Gupta family's efforts to swindle resources from the company through the family's company's being awarded several dodgy contracts.

The same modus operandi was seen at other state-owned enterprises such as Transnet.

Matona's name has previously been mentioned at the inquiry regarding his role as the acting public enterprises director-general.

Former South African Airways chairperson Cheryl Carolus had previously told the inquiry how Matona had pushed for SAA to spend its advertising budget on the Gupta-owned The New Age newspaper.

Carolus testified that she pushed back against efforts to get the struggling airline to buy advertising space in TNA when the newspaper was starting.

TNA was owned by the Gupta family and acted as a government mouthpiece and it was later sold to businessman Mzwanele Manyi.

The former ANC deputy secretary-general was testifying at the commission on Wednesday.

Carolus said she was called into a meeting by Matona who wanted to discuss TNA.

She went to the meeting which was also attended by former SAA CEO Siza Mziemela and then public enterprises minister Malusi Giagaba's adviser Siyabonga Mahlangu.

Matona told Carolus that TNA was a new entrant to the market and that it had to be supported.

TNA had previously applied for advertising space with SAA but their bid got rejected as they did not meet the requirements.

"The DG explained that The New Age is a new entrant and he thought that to encourage media diversity they should be supported," she said.

Carolus pushed back against this, saying diversity was important but SAA could not just spend money without a purpose.

"I assured the meeting that media diversity is a healthy thing, I questioned whose job that was. What we were being asked had financial implications. We sometimes did campaigns like any company and it was done to meet an objective and in terms of SAA it is to increase profitability," she said.

Carolus said SAA was later invited to purchase a table at one of TNA's business breakfasts. She said the airline did not spend any money on TNA.

What the struggle stalwart told the commission links with various other testimony of some of the officials at the inquiry.

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