Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
9 Sep 2020
11:58 am

Gupta-linked businessman ‘sent ex-minister list of names for Eskom’s new board’

Molefe Seeletsa

This comes after the Former Eskom board chairperson said he was instructed to postpone a board meeting after ‘strange’ requests from Lynn Brown.

Former Eskom board chairperson Zola Tsotsi during an interview on March 19, 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / City Press / Lucky Nxumalo).

Former Eskom board chairperson Zola Tsotsi appeared before the Zondo commission into state capture for the second day running on Wednesday, where he revealed that there was an effort to remove certain people from Eskom in order to replace them with the Gupta family’s associates.

Tsotsi, who was chairperson from August 2011 to 2014, told the commission that former minister of public enterprises Lynne Brown had worked with Gupta-linked businessman, Salim Essa and Tony Gupta on the appointments of Eskom’s board committee.

On Tuesday, Tsotsi said he once received a call from former president Jacob Zuma asking him to postpone a board meeting on 26 February after a number of requests from Brown.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo had found that Brown and Zuma had no power to request a postponement of a board meeting after Tsotsi agreed to the postponement of the meeting without understanding the reasons behind the request.

ALSO READ: Former SAA chair Dudu Myeni had input on Eskom issues, including suspensions – commission hears

With Advocate Pule Seleka leading the evidence, Tsotsi said Essa had sent the minister a list of names for board committees, which was later forwarded back to him, he told the commission.

“It was a bit challenging for me to establish a relationship with Ms Brown because Mr Essa had started interfering in Eskom’s affairs.”

This comes in light of Brown’s statement where she denied seeing the list that was given to Tsotsi, while also denying claims that she worked with Essa or Tony Gupta.

The former chairperson also revealed that there was a time when Tony Gupta showed him the transcripts of the power utility’s board members, which was based on business-related conversation, when he was at the Gupta residence.

He said Tony Gupta did not reveal where he got the transcripts when asked where he got it from.

“I was furious about it and he just told me not worry about where he got the transcripts,” he said.

Tsotsi further told the commission that he had concluded that the Guptas were instrumental in the removal of Eskom executives, including the former CEO Tshediso Matona, in 2015 as part of their capture of the state-owned enterprise.

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

On Monday, Matona had told the commission how he was suspended from Eskom 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 (CCMA), he had hopes of getting his job back, despite Eskom not being open to the idea.

Continue to watch the proceedings below:

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