A former senior Eskom manager has told the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture that she had two undisclosed meetings at the Gupta family’s compound in Saxonwold and kept them secret from her bosses and colleagues.
Dr Ayanda Nteta, who was a senior manager in fuel resources, said she was requested to join a meeting with Rajesh “Tony” Gupta to discuss the coal supplier agreement.
Nteta, who worked at Eskom between 2012 and 2018, said she did not tell her line manager – primary coal general manager Vusi Mboweni – about the meetings with the Guptas because of a general lack of trust in the organisation.
“It was not pleasant. It was toxic [the work environment] and there was a lack of trust within the organisation. Whether it’s my immediate supervisor or people above him, there was a lack of trust,” said Nteta.
Her testimony is expected to be followed by other former Eskom senior officials which include former head of generation Matshela Koko, former chief financial officer Anoj Singh and former CEO Brian Molefe, who are due to appear at the Commission this week.
Nteta told the commission that she did not trust Mboweni because he had requested weekly progress reports about coal contracts and that she did not know where the information was going to.
“I did not know where he stood, I was uncomfortable about it. So, I did not know,” she said.
Nteta said she agreed to meet with the Rajesh because she had been engaging with then Tegeta CEO Ravindra Nath about the coal supplier agreement that Tegeta had with Eskom.
She said the big motivation to meet with the Gupta brother was to try and clean up the coal supplier agreement with Tegeta, which she said had been poorly written and had grammatical errors.
According to evidence before the commission, Nteta was a key member of the team that negotiated the R3.7 billion deal for Tegeta’s Brakfontein colliery to supply the Majuba power station.
Her former boss, Johann Bester, who testified before the commission, said he believed Koko had pressured Nteta to finalise the deal with Tegeta.
She denied this saying that she wanted to resolve the standoff between Eskom and Tegeta which resulted in a lack of cooperation from Tegeta in solving issues related to the contract.
On Wednesday, Koko, who is one of the key figures that were employed at Eskom during the state capture period, will take the stand and continue his testimony.
Previously Koko had denied that he had called his colleagues to a meeting with Gupta-linked businessperson Salim Essa in Johannesburg to tip them off about the 2014 suspensions of Eskom executives, including himself.
Koko claimed that President Cyril Ramaphosa interfered and was involved in his axing from Eskom.
Nteta will be recalled to finish her testimony at a later date.