Resuming on Tuesday, the commission of inquiry into state capture heard testimony from former Eskom board chairperson Zola Tsotsi, following explosive testimony from the power utility’s former CEO on Monday highlighting questionable decisions by the Eskom board.
Tsotsi, who was appointed at Eskom as chairperson of the board around August 2011 to 2014, told the commission how he once received a call from former president Jacob Zuma asking him to postpone a board meeting on 26 February.
The commission heard how Tsotsi was instructed to postpone the meeting after “strange” requests from then minister Lynn Brown.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo found it strange how Zuma, who was not part of the board, could request a postponement and Tsotsi could not provide a clear answer.
Zondo also questioned why Brown would request a meeting to be cancelled, as she also was not part of the board.
Asked why he would agree to a postponement from Brown without understanding the reasoning, Tsotsi claimed that he was under the impression it was in Eskom’s Memorandum of Incorporation.
The commission found that both the minister and president had no power to request a postponement of a board meeting.
Eskom’s Memorandum of Incorporation was read out to the commission and it stated that the matters of the organisation would rest on the board and that any attempt to interfere with the functions of Eskom’s running would have to be in writing. This questioned the calls or requests made to Tsotsi.
The meeting which was intended for 26 February was postponed to 11 March 2015. An explosive find was that there was another meeting which happened on 9 March, which came about after a meeting Tsotsi had with Zuma on 7 or 8 March.
Tsotsi’s testimony follows that of Tshediso Matona, who on Monday told the commission how he was suspended from the power utility without any wrongdoing, including how he took to the Labour Court where it was ruled that his suspension had been unfair.
Matona testified on how he saw it fitting to purely cut his losses – following his suspension in March 2015 – and accept severance pay of twelve months from the company.
He explained how even after the labour court ruling, when the matter was before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, he had hopes of getting his job back, despite Eskom not being open to the idea.