Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza, told Parliament’s public enterprises committee that Eskom was over-staffed at all levels and would have to right-size. File Photo: IOL

Johannesburg - Eskom board chairman Jabu Mabuza's perceived conflict of interest following his appointment to the power utility has been questioned by the Zondo Commission of Inquiry as it resumed on Friday. 

Evidence leader Advocate Vincent Maleka, SC, had asked Mabuza if there had been any probe related to conflict of interest about his business dealings and investments following his appointment as Eskom chairperson. 

Mabuza, who took the witness stand on Friday, confirmed to owning a stake in Sphere Holdings, an investment holding company whose subsidiary does maintenance work on a third of Eskom boilers. 

He said he bought the Sphere stake from the pension he had received after retiring as chief executive and deputy chairman of Tsogo Sun Holdings, positions he held between 1995 and 2011. 

However, Mabuza said that he had resigned as Sphere director with immediate effect after he was appointed as Eskom chairperson in January 2018, and proceeded to put his investment in Sphere into a blind trust with Standard Bank.

"I bought a six percent shareholding of Sphere for R26 million from my after tax [payment]. I had my office at Sphere and Sphere paid me a stipend. But I have never been to Sphere after [my appointment at Eskom] and I've been paid a dividend. I left the matter with the Standard Bank Trust," Mabuza said. 

Mabuza also said he did not know of what was going on in that Trust as he was not involved in its day-to-day running, but was only informed of its establishment.

Maleka also questioned Mabuza about perceived nepotism as his wife's brother owns a coal company that does business with Eskom. 

Mabuza said he had declared his long-standing relationship with his brother-in-law, Themba Langa, who is in coal mining and said for that reason he does not sit in any board meetings to do with mining at Eskom.

The Mabuzas and the Langas have a joint-venture enterprise in coal mining. Mabuza continues to testify after a short tea break adjournment. 

African News Agency/ANA