Former Eskom head of generation Matshela Koko giving evidence at the Zondo commission. Screengrab: SABC/YouTube
Former Eskom head of generation Matshela Koko giving evidence at the Zondo commission. Screengrab: SABC/YouTube

Matshela Koko accuses former Eskom board members of being dishonest with Zondo inquiry

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Mar 29, 2021

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Johannesburg – Former Eskom executive Matshela Koko wrapped up another appearance at the Zondo commission on Monday.

He is expected to return to finalise his evidence.

Koko accused former Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane and former head of legal Suzanne Daniels of being dishonest with the commission.

Koko appeared at the inquiry on Monday with a continuation of his evidence.

He was questioned on a variety of matters related to his work at Eskom. He faced questions regarding a Gupta-linked email address "info portal" which was used to email various instructions to Eskom executives.

Koko, Daniels and Ngubane have been recorded as sharing emails with unknown email address.

The email address is believed to have been used by Gupta-linked associate Salim Essa, who ran Trillian Capital.

This was an email address that was run outside of Eskom and the commission has been preoccupied with why Eskom officials were sharing sensitive Eskom documents with an unknown email portal.

Advocate Pule Seleka, the evidence leader for the commission, questioned Koko on the exchanges of this email and who it belonged to.

Koko said he had been under the impression that the email address was linked to Ngubane. However, Ngubane and Daniels have both denied links to this email address.

When Ngubane appeared, he denied any knowledge of this email address and said he had been told the email address belonged to a former government official, Richard Seleke.

Koko took issue with Ngubane and Daniels' denials and insisted that this email was linked to the two. He said they had been dishonest with the commission.

"Dr Ngubane does not make sense when he says the email address is not his. The difficulty that Ngubane is dealing with is the same as Miss Daniels. Mr Ngubane says the first time he came across the info portal email address was in August 2016, and that he was told it belonged to Mr Richard Seleke.

"He is being dishonest with you on this email address. I am shocked he denies the meetings he had with me and Miss Daniels. It can only be the characteristics of people who are lying to you to save their skin," Koko told the commission.

Koko also denied ever doing the bidding of Essa and said he spent time blocking contracts linked to Trillian Capital.

"Guess who stopped these things? Me. If I had done Essa's bidding then I would have found a reason to pay an R30 million invoice. That cannot be a characteristic of someone doing Mr Essa's bidding," Koko said.

Koko began his testimony saying he will never be able to rest until President Cyril Ramaphosa is called to answer questions on allegations of interference at Eskom.

Koko said Ramaphosa had interfered in the running of Eskom between 2012 and 2014. He said Ramaphosa had done this because of an over R1 billion debt owed by 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.

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

On Monday, Koko asked the commission's chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, whether Ramaphosa had been issued with a rule 3.3 notice regarding these claims.

"I just want to find out if Mr Ramaphosa has been served with a rule 3.3 notice as 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," Koko said.

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 CEO Brian Molefe when he appeared at the inquiry in January.

Ramaphosa is expected to appear at the inquiry on April 22 and 23 and on April 28 and 29.

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

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