News / South Africa / State Capture

Gopolang Moloko
2 minute read
8 Sep 2020
1:23 pm

‘No one’ wanted to upset Jacob Zuma, Zondo hears from former Eskom board chair

Gopolang Moloko

Tsotsi noted an element of fear associated with the influence the Gupta family had as a result of their proximity to Zuma.

Former Eskom board chairperson Zola Tsotsi takes the stand at the commission.

In continuing his testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture, former Eskom board chair Zola Tsotsi highlighted the day he met two members of the Gupta family, brothers Ajay and Atul, at a meeting where the ANC’s then top six had a table at a Gala dinner.

The dinner was part of the TNA’s advertising deal with Eskom in fundraising on the eve of the ANC’s rally on 8 January 2014, in Nelspruit.

Zondo questioned if Tsotsi understood what it could mean as there were no other such events with other political parties such as the United Democratic Movement, the DA, FF Plus or even the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Zondo noted how he found it questionable that state-owned entities spent money on political functions, and that state-owned entities contributed for a table to sit at breakfast or dinner to meet and greet high-ranking officials.

The benefit without asserting to any point, according to Zondo, was to meet these high-ranking officials at the expense of the state-owned entity, which did not conduct the same effort with other political parties.

Tsotsi recalled how Tony Gupta, at the Guptas’ Saxonworld residence, requested his assistance in facilitating the hiring of an unidentified “friend of the Guptas” as Eskom’s chief procurement officer. This was one of a few meetings with Tony Gupta, who at one stage requested Tsotsi to assist in solving an issue with a deal that Eskom had signed with TNA.

“You are the boss, you can make this go away,” Tsotsi claims Tony said to him, making the request for him to solve an issue into the deal Eskom had with TNA.

The commission heard how the Gupta family was well-connected to former president Jacob Zuma and everyone wanted to appease the president by pleasing those connected to him, which in this case was Tony Gupta and his brothers.

Zondo asked Tsotsi what did he feared would happen to him if he displeased Zuma. He said he would have incurred the displeasure of the president who could have reprimanded him.

Tsotsi noted an element of fear associated with the influence the Gupta family had as a result of their proximity to Zuma.

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