LIVE: Tsotsi’s damning revelations links Brown to Guptas

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Fin24 Team

2017-11-22 10:11

Former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi has levelled more damning accusations against Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, Toni Gupta and Salim Essa.

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Tsotsi’s damning revelations links Brown to Guptas

Former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi has levelled more
damning accusations against Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, Toni Gupta
and their close associate Salim Essa.

“There is a clear association between Minister Brown and the
Gupta family,” he said.

Tsotsi told Parliament’s Eskom Inquiry that Brown invited
him to her house after a new Eskom board had been appointed in December 2014.

“Tony Gupta and Salim Essa were present,” he said.

The matter was about the allocation of board members to
different subcommittees. “Salim Essa would draw up his idea of board allocations up
and send it to the minister,” he said.

Asked by Democratic Alliance MP Natasha Mazzone if Brown was
taking instruction by Essa, he said: “I would not say she took instructions
from them, but it seemed to me that I was not able to complete this exercise
without the involvement of Mr Essa.

“I got a list and I changed the list on the basis of what I
thought it should be. I sent it to the minister to get her concurrence. She
changed it back to what it was when she originally sent it.

“My hands were tied.”

Asked by Mazonne why the Guptas had that power over him, he
replied: “When I had the occasion to discuss something with him, and when I was
not able to give it to him, he turned around and he said he must report me to
Baba (President Jacob Zuma).

“The impression he gave me was that he had a very close
relationship with Baba and that he could do anything. I think that was the
source of his power.”

Asked what the Guptas asked for, he said they asked for three
things that they directly wanted from me. “In all of them I was not able to
assist them,” he said.

He said the Guptas were interested supplying gas to OCGTs (Open
Cycle Gas Turbine) to have access to the Western Cape market with them as the anchor
tenant. He said he would like me to assist them to facilitate that.”

There was a memorandum of understanding with a company in
place, so Tsotsti said this could not occur. “He then complained that we were
dealing with Baba’s enemy,” said Tsotsi.

Pictured below is Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.




Tsotsi was confused by Myeni’s link to Eskom matters

Former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi said he was confused by
former South African Airways chairperson Dudu Myeni’s involvement in Eskom
matters.

When they were both in their respective roles, Myeni had
asked Tsotsi to a meeting at President Jacob Zuma’s official residence in
Durban in 2015, where she and Zuma met with Tsotsi, he said.

Asked if he tried to ask Myeni why she was involving herself
in the matter of Eskom, Tsotsi said he tried to talk to her the next day to try
and understand what was going on.

“To this day, I have not been able to talk to
her,” he told the Eskom Inquiry in Parliament.

Myeni – in the presence of Zuma – advised that Tsotsi should
suspend Eskom CE Tsediso Matona and executives Dan Marokane and Matshela Koko.

The idea of adding former Eskom finance director Tsholofelo Molefe came later
by Ben Ngubane (who later took over his job as chair), Tsotsi said.

Asked whether it was irregular that Zuma had sought a
meeting where Tsotsi would be told to suspend his executives, Tsotsi said he
took it as advice and not an instruction.

He said that Zuma as president had no authority to instruct
him, but he took his advice seriously and wanted to test the idea with the
Eskom board and his direct shareholder, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne
Brown.

At a board meeting, where Brown was present, Tsotsi
presented the idea of the inquiry and suspension.

“She did not show that she did not know about this,” he said.

“She indicated that the Department of Public Enterprises supports this inquiry
and the suspension of the executives that were indicated.”





Tsotsi says Guptas warned him to help them at Eskom or face axing

Former Eskom chairperson chairperson Zola Tsotsi claims that
Tony Gupta warned him that he was not helping them at Eskom and therefore his
job was at risk.

This was about two days before President Jacob Zuma’s State
of the Nation Address in February 2015.

“I was approached by Tony Gupta who requested that we meet,”
Tsotsi told Parliament’s state capture inquiry into Eskom.

“At the meeting, Tony told me ‘chairman, you are not helping
us with anything. We are the ones who put you in the position you are in. We
are the ones who can take you out!’

“My response was ‘Do what you have to do, and let me carry
on with the job that the Cabinet appointed me to do!’ So ended that meeting.”

Earlier that day, he said Public Enterprises Minister Lynne
Brown had called him to a meeting.

“At this meeting, she stated as follows: ‘chairman, I have
received complaints from management and board members that you are interfering
in management. Please refrain from doing so, because if you don’t, I shall have
to find someone else to do your job!’

“My response was, ‘minister, most board members hardly know
what I look like, let alone not having worked with me yet. As for management,
if scrutinising their decisions and behaviour and calling them to account
constitutes interference with management, then I will happily continue doing
so. If you had acceded to my request that we have regular briefing sessions,
even this meeting would not have been necessary’.

“Where upon the minister responded by saying, ‘chairman, you
go and do what you have to do, I will go and do what I have to, there is no
reason for you and I to talk about anything.’ That is how the meeting ended.

“It is at this time that I felt that some sinister clouds
are gathering because the coincidence of the two events was not lost on me.”





Tsotsi drops Myeni/Zuma meeting bombshell at Eskom Inquiry

Former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi has dropped a bombshell
at the Eskom Inquiry, saying that former South African Airways chair Dudu Myeni
had called him to request his availability to meet President Jacob Zuma in
Durban.

According to Tsotsi, He was met by Myeni on March 7, 2015 at
the Durban Presidential residence. Here, he met Myeni, her son Talent and, Nick Lennell,
who was introduced as a lawyer.

She told him that Eskom CE Tsediso Matona and executives Dan
Marokane and Matshela Koko were to be suspended, he said.

“I found this matter altogether shocking and proceeded to
question the need for suspending these executives as I saw this as a recipe for
inducing instability in the company,” he charged.

“Shortly hereafter, the president entered. After some
pleasantries, he requested to know what was up for discussion, whereupon Ms
Myeni repeated what she had previously stated.

“The president then enquired if I knew who the executives
are who were to be suspended, to which I responded that I would prefer that I
consult the HR rules of the company to check if there is a provision for
recusal rather than suspensions.”

Ben Ngubane later told Tsotsi that former Eskom finance
director Tsholofelo Molefe had to be added to the list, he said. 

Lennell – who Myeni told Tsotsi had helped her with this at
SAA – then helped drafting the suspension letters, he said.




Matjila broke PFMA rules in extending Gupta breakfast deal with
Eskom – Tsotsi

Former acting Eskom CEO Collin Matjila broke Public Finance
Management Act (PFMA) rules when he extended the New Age breakfast sponsorship deal.

“The lapses in governance that have been occasioned by poor
decision making have opened the company to rent seekers,” he told Parliament’s
Eskom Inquiry.

“Those of us who were at the forefront of the events, have
the duty to provide information to this committee and the nation.

“I regret to say, Eskom did not avail me a single document.
I have had to rely on my memory on pertinent events during my tenure at Eskom.
It limits my ability to support the work of this committee.

“On my arrival at Eskom in 2011, there was an existing New
Age contract that was due to expire in June 2014. At the time of its expiry,
Collin Matjila was CEO. He acceded to renewing the contract.

“He failed to apply delegation of responsibility to deal
with sponsorship through a committee, thus bypassing a process and acting
outside his responsibility.

“Mr Matjila disputed this position and proceeded to sign the
contract. A whistle blower reported this to the audit and risk committee, which
was brought to the board. The board ordered to conduct a independent investigation
by SizweNtsalubaGobodo into this. 

“It found that Mr Matjila had broken PMFA rules. Mr Matjila
requested the board to seek legal opinion in this matter, to which the board
agreed.”

A legal opinion upheld this and recommended that the board
discipline the acting CEO. Mr Matjila had left Eskom at this stage, so it could
not conduct disciplinary proceedings. The board resolved to let the contract
run for the few months of the extension as the other option would have cost
Eskom dearly, he said.







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