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As it happened - Brown grilled by MP's about Guptas, state capture

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22 Nov 2017

That's the end of the live updates from Parliament's state capture inquiry for now, although questions are still being asked of Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. Fin24 will be back with a recap of what happened late on Wednesday night first thing on Thursday morning. 

22 Nov 2017

Gordhan asks Brown if, or why, she seems to have bad relationships with Eskom chairs, saying they appear to invariably break down. 

"Is there some pattern here," he asks. "So why don't you get along with the chairs?"

"I do have a robust relationship with the chairs, and I think I will continue to do so", replies Brown.

She adds that, while some information is "kept away from her" this doesn't say anything about her relationship with the chairperson of Eskom. 

"It says something about the opaqueness and the non-transparency of the company," she says. 

22 Nov 2017

Gordhan notes that many Eskom board members are linked to the Guptas or Gupta business associate Salim Essa. 

"And yet we as the public and as Parliament are expected to believe that this board is genuinely professional and goes through the processes of selection that have been indicated here," says Gordhan. 

Gordhan continues by saying that the early March 2015 suspension of four Eskom officials, including former Eskom finance director Tsholofelo Molefe and former CEO Tshediso Matona, contributed to an Eskom downgrade. 

'You have no regrets about the fact that you agreed to these suspensions?" he asks.

Brown says the suspension was only one of four issues that contributed to the downgrade. Brown says Eskom was also downgraded due to its financial instability at the time. 

Rating agency Standard & Poor's said on March 19 2015 that it had downgraded Eskom's long-term credit rating to junk status.

Brown said that Eskom had strengthened after the suspension.  

22 Nov 2017

Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is now set to ask questions. 

<p>Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is now set to ask questions.&nbsp;</p><p></p>

22 Nov 2017

We are not at that point yet that we can prove that people have done things wrong - Brown 

The ANC's Zukile Luyenge asks Brown about companies related to the Guptas. 

"What are these people doing, are they doing things wrongfully or rightfully?" he asks. 

"The issue is they are not blacklisted," says Brown.  

She adds that if any wrongdoing has taken place, then those responsible must be brought to justice. 

Speaking of coal contracts, Brown says that 73% of Eskom's R50bn a year coal contracts are in the hands of four previously-white businesses. 

"And ask this very specifically," she says. "27% are black companies and they are about between 30 and 4 black companies ... and of the 27% [only] 7% sits with the Guptas."

She adds that National Treasury,  Eskom is investigating it, the SIU and the Parliamentary inquiry is investigating Tegeta. 

"For me it is complex question to answer, because unless somebody has done - and I can prove to you the person has done something wrong - we are not at that point yet that we can prove that people have done things wrong." 

22 Nov 2017

The EFF's Floyd Shivambu 

<p><strong>The EFF's Floyd Shivambu&nbsp;</strong></p><p><strong></strong></p>

22 Nov 2017

The EFF's Floyd Shivambu starts with a Bible verse.

He notes that both former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi and Lynne Brown have given conflicting testimony about a meeting in December of 2014, and both took an oath. 

"The last time I checked Exodus 20:7 - Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him or her guiltless guiltless that taketh his name in vain."

Shivambu appears to be enjoying himself. 

"And it looks like ... one of the two would have used the Lord's name in vain." 

Shivambu says that if he had to chose between Tsotsi's and Brown's testimony, he would believe Tsotsi.  

Brown again replies that Tsotsi was never at her house with Gupta associate Salim Essa and Tony Gupta. 

22 Nov 2017

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22 Nov 2017

The DA's Mazzone asks the minister of public enterprises if she has any knowledge of Gupta interference in state-owned entities that fall under her purview. 

"I am not buying that you don't know now that Gupta people are systematically coming into our state-owned entities, cutting them up into chunk sizes and selling them off," says Mazzone. 

"In Eskom the committee is aware, and I am aware, of the fact that Tegeta is a company that operates within Eskom," says Brown. "In Transnet I am not aware of any Gupta-owned companies that operate in Transnet now under my watch."

"And the issue of Trillian was also a matter that was raised in Transnet, and Denel -you must be very grateful, Denel Asia doesn't exist any longer."

 "So that is what I know of," says Brown. She then asks Mazzone if she knows of any other Gupta-linked firms. 

"Yes I know," says Mazzone. "54 million South Africans know". 

 

22 Nov 2017

I gave Brown copies of the #GuptaLeaks -Mazzone 

The DA's Natahsa Mazzone has said she gave an envelope of #Guptaleaks emails to Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.

"For you to come here tonight and say you have never seen the emails is simply untrue," says Mazzone. 

Earlier Brown had testified that she had never read any of the emails. But Brown replied that she did not.

"You never left an envelope with #GuptaLeaks emails at my office," says Brown. She adds that she has also not received any #GuptaLeaks emails in Parliament. 

Meeting 

Mazzone also disagreed with Brown about what occurred at a previous meeting between them. 

"For you to intimate in your statement that when I came to see you it was some kind of threat, it certainly wasn't," adds Mazzone. "You called me, you asked me for the meeting And I obliged."

Mazzone was referring to a statement in Brown's prepared notes that read: 

"Several months ago the Honourable Mazzone came to see me in my office to warn me that if I didn't 'come clean' I would be made the scapegoat for Eskom’s mismanagement. Is that the objective of the inquiry? Surely, if she was a juror she would be disqualified from jury duty."

 

22 Nov 2017

Tony Gupta and Salim Essa weren't at my house with Zola Tsotsi

DA MP Mazzone asks Brown why Tony Gupta and Gupta business associate Salim Essa were at her house. 

This follows testimony by former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi this mornin

Tsotsi told the committee earlier 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 and send it to the minister,”. 

Brown says that Tony Gupta and Salim Essa were not at her house. "In fact, I really deny that."

"Zola Tsotsi must please tell me on which day he says, so that I actually can verify it. But at this stage I don't know that Tony Gupta and Salim Essa came to my house."


<p><strong>Tony Gupta and Salim Essa weren't at my house with Zola Tsotsi</strong></p><p>DA MP Mazzone asks Brown why Tony Gupta and Gupta business associate Salim Essa were at her house.&nbsp;</p><p>This follows testimony by former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi this mornin</p><p>Tsotsi told the committee earlier that Brown invited him to her house after a new Eskom board had been appointed in December 2014.</p><p>“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 and send it to the minister,”.&nbsp;</p><p>Brown says that Tony Gupta and Salim Essa were not at her house. "In fact, I really deny that."</p><p>"Zola Tsotsi must please tell me on which day he says, so that I actually can verify it. But at this stage I don't know that Tony Gupta and Salim Essa came to my house."</p><p><br /></p><p></p>
Tsotsi's shock revelations link Brown to Guptas, Essa

22 Nov 2017

Brown says she feels other forces are in play regarding trouble at state-owned enterprises 

The DA's Natasha Mazzone is first to question Brown. 

She asks the minister about a sentence in her prepared statement that treads: "Right now, cleaning up the SOCs (state-owned companies) is of secondary importance to using the trouble they’re in to achieve short-term political and business objectives – regardless of the cost to the company or country."

Mazzone asks which political and business objectives she is referring too. 

"When I say 'to achieve short-term political and business objectives' this is my opinion, this is how I feel about it," says Brown.

"I feel that somehow there is a little objective that needs to be reached that you have in your mind. I feel that there is a whole space that I can play in, I can operate in and I can speak to. I can speak about how I feel about something."

"I have actually given like many people in this country, our lives so that we are free to be able to say so," she says. "And that is the only freedom that I am using here today." 

Mazzone replies that, just as Brown has the right to state her opinion so does she. She asks the minister again which political and business objectives are being benefited by the trouble that state-owned enterprises are in. 

Brown says she doesn't have a specific company that she can refer to, but notes that she and Mazzone have in the past disagreed about which direction Eskom should take in the future. 

"I am saying that is my broad feel around it, that it is a contestation that we are having, and whether it has a political or a business fallout, that is the issue," says Brown. 

Mazzone replies that this sounds like a "conspiracy theory".   

22 Nov 2017

I don't have the Guptas' number - Brown 

Vanara now asks Brown about an alleged call from one of the Gupta brothers to her to try and stop the suspension of Matshela Koko. 

She says the call never happened. 

"Did the Guptas phone me or did I phone the Guptas? Because I don't have their number." 

"There is evidence to that effect before the committee, and I am putting it to you to give you an opportunity to comment on it," says Vanara. 

He ends his questions.

It will now be up to MP's to ask questions to Brown. 

22 Nov 2017

Eskom inquiry evidence leader advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara quizzes Minister Lynne Brown 
<strong>Eskom inquiry evidence leader advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara quizzes Minister Lynne Brown&nbsp;</strong>

22 Nov 2017

Brown is now asked by Vanara about allegations in the media that her ‘partner’ has benefited from Eskom deals. 

Neither Vanara nor Brown names the person in question. 

Brown says she has never used her influence to benefit anyone. 

“I have never ever asked any company, ever, to give business to anybody in particular. I think it is an unfair burden you place on CE’s [chief executives) and I think it is unethical to do so,” she says.  

Lynne Brown did not help secure R1.2m Eskom contract - exec

22 Nov 2017

Brown says President Jacob Zuma never called her to discuss the suspension of four officials in early 2015, including Eskom finance director Tsholofelo Molefe and former CEO Tshediso Matona. 

22 Nov 2017

We all saw a downgrade coming - Brown

Public Enterprises Minster Lynne Brown has told Parliament's Eskom inquiry that “we all saw a [Eskom] downgrade coming” in early 2015. 

“By this time the company was hardly a going concern. It was waiting for a bailout of R23bn it had no visible plan going forward, [there was] low staff morale.”

Rating agency Standard & Poor's said on March 19 2015 that it had downgraded Eskom's long-term credit rating to junk following the suspension of four of its senior officials. 

Brown was being quizzed by the inquiry’s evidence leader Vanara about the suspension, which included former Eskom finance director Tsholofelo Molefe and former CEO Tshediso Matona. 

Vanara asked if she had not foreseen that the suspension would lead to a credit rating downgrade.

Brown replied that there was already a feeling that a downgrade was imminent at Eskom.

She said at that time the country was battling severe load shedding. 

“They were just suspended they were not fired out of the company,” said Brown. “I really do not want to see young black professional moved aside because of anything, but there was a crisis in the country at the time. That is what made me accept that the four would be suspended.” 

S&P downgrades Eskom to junk

22 Nov 2017

I didn't put Tsholofelo Molefe's name on a list to be suspended, says Brown 

Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown has denied that she added the name of former Eskom finance director Tsholofelo Molefe to a list of people to be suspended in late 2015.

Earlier in the day former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi had testified that at a Eskom committee meeting Ben Ngubane had said that T. Molefe should be added to a list of people to be suspended, pending an internal Eskom inquiry. 

Tsotsi had testified that Ngubane had told him that Brown had wanted T. Molefe added to the list. 

“I did not propose anybody’s name,” replies Brown. “I don’t think I would have ever put somebody’s name on the list." 

“What is your response to that, did you or did you not give [Ms Molefe’s] name over to Dr Ngubane to add to the list?,” asks Vanara again. 

“I did not,” says Brown. 

“So Mr Tsotsi was lying?” asks Vanara. 

“The fact that I did not and he did means one of us is lying and I don’t think I am lying,” she says. 

<p><strong>I didn't put&nbsp;Tsholofelo Molefe's name on a list to be suspended, says Brown&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown has denied that she added the name of former Eskom finance director Tsholofelo Molefe to a list of people to be suspended in late 2015.</p><p>Earlier in the day former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi had testified that at a Eskom committee meeting Ben Ngubane had said that T. Molefe should be added to a list of people to be suspended, pending an internal Eskom inquiry.&nbsp;</p><p>Tsotsi had testified that Ngubane had told him that Brown had wanted T. Molefe added to the list.&nbsp;</p><p>“I did not propose anybody’s name,” replies Brown.&nbsp;“I don’t think I would have ever put somebody’s name on the list."&nbsp;</p><p>“What is your response to that, did you or did you not give [Ms Molefe’s] name over to Dr Ngubane to add to the list?,” asks Vanara again.&nbsp;</p><p>“I did not,” says Brown.&nbsp;</p><p>“So Mr Tsotsi was lying?” asks Vanara.&nbsp;</p><p>“The fact that I did not and he did means one of us is lying and I don’t think I am lying,” she says.&nbsp;</p>

22 Nov 2017

Vanara asks Brown if she understood that former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe had resigned in November 2016. 

“Yes sir,” says Brown. 

“If it helps, it would appear to me that we agree, at least, in that respect,” says Vanara. 

Molefe has argued that he did not actually resign from Eskom following the Public Protector's State of Capture report in November 2016, but took early retirement. 

In her earlier prepared testimony, Brown had said that "Subsequent events have persuaded me that the ‘early retirement agreement’ was not only irregular but possibly an ex post facto fabrication.” 

22 Nov 2017

Evidence leader advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara asks Brown about the Trillian matter.

Brown had told Parliament that Trillian, which was related to Gupta associate Salim Essa, had no relationship with Eskom. 

She later clarified that she had been given incorrect information. Trillian and global consultancy McKinsey are now at the centre of state capture and corruption allegations related to the power utility.  

“That must have put you in a very compromising position because telling inaccurate information to Parliament exposes one to criminal charges,” said Vanara. 

“Absolutely,” said Brown. “I am both before the Public Protector as well as before the Ethics Committee because I have received that information from Eskom.” 

Eskom claims it didn't pay Gupta-linked Trillian a cent

22 Nov 2017

Minister Brown has ended her testimony. She will now be asked questions by by evidence leader advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara. 

22 Nov 2017

Molefe's early retirement agreement possibly a fabrication - Brown 

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has said that she understood that former Eskom ECO Brian Molefe resigned from Eskom and did not initially seek early retirement. 

On Tuesday Molefe, in testimony before the committee, disputed that he had resigned from Eskom following the publication of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report. 

He had told the committee that while he put out a media statement in late 2016 that mentioned a decision to step down, this had not yet been implemented and he later applied for early retirement. 

But Brown told the committee she had understood that he had resigned. 

“On 11 November 2016 I issued a statement noting that I was saddened by Mr Molefe’s resignation but respected his decision,” she said. 

“This followed a meeting Mr Molefe requested with me to explain his decision to step down. During the meeting and based on what Mr Molefe described as the basis of his departure, I expressly referred to his proposed departure as a 'resignation'. Mr Molefe did not correct or challenge this terminology.”

Brown told the committee that, on March 8 2017, she sent a letter to Eskom requesting a resolution recording Molefe’s resignation and the formal appointment of Matshela Koko as acting CEO. 

“The Department was duly furnished with Mr Koko’s appointment letter but no resolution on Molefe’s resignation or retirement,” she said. 

The minister said that her view that Molefe had resigned persisted until 16 April 2017 - some five months after he left Eskom -  when she “read in a newspaper that he was to receive a R30m pension payout".

“I was surprised to discover that the Board had concluded an agreement with Molefe for an early retirement, but did not consider it to be irregular at that point,' she said.

“Subsequent events have persuaded me that the ‘early retirement agreement’ was not only irregular but possibly an ex post facto fabrication.” 

22 Nov 2017

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown testifying before Parliament's Eskom committee 
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown testifying before Parliament's Eskom committee&nbsp;

22 Nov 2017

Inquiry needs to be more balanced - Brown 

Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown has criticised Parliament's Eskom inquiry for not giving people the opportunity to cross examine witnesses. 

"Mass murderers and rapists are entitled to be informed of allegations witnesses will make against them in order to defend themselves," she said. They are entitled to cross-examine those making allegations against them. But not Eskom nor the DPE." 

"I note that none of the committee members have insisted on a more balanced process. You certainly didn't cover yourself in glory by blithely listening to Ms (Suzanne) Daniels contradict evidence that she has given you in the past – without pointing the different versions out."

"The same criticism would apply to certain members of the Fourth Estate," she said. 

Brown said that the DA's Natasha Mazzone came to see her before the inquiry started and warned her that if "I didn't “come clean” I would be made the scapegoat for Eskom’s mismanagement". 

Brown added that, although she received legal advice to decline to appear before the committee, she chose to appear before it in the interests of "constitutional principles that members of the executive should account to parliament." 

22 Nov 2017

Overwhelming circumstantial evidence of malfeasance at SOE's, but 'comprehensive investigation' needed - Brown

Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown started her prepared testimony before the Eskom inquiry, speaking from notes, by saying there was "overwhelming circumstantial evidence of malfeasance" at state-owned companies. 

She has also gave a longer written submission to committee members. 

"This includes information contained in the former Public Protector’s State of Capture report, investigative reports commissioned by the Eskom Board, reports that I have requested in my capacity as shareholder representative, Treasury reports, annual financial results and leaked email correspondence," she said. 

"Some of those who have been accused of being leading actors in this tragedy are under investigation, some are in the throes of disciplinary proceedings, and some have resigned hoping to escape the fuss. The information must be tested," she said. 

"We must insist that people suspected of wrongdoing are investigated and prosecuted where appropriate."

"Those falsely implicated must be exonerated. The ill-gotten gains of crime must be returned to State-Owned Companies," she said. 

The minister, one of the highest profile witnesses called before the inquiry, said that comprehensive investigations into wrongdoing at state-owned enterprises were needed. 

"The same allegations levelled against the same group of individuals goes around and around, destroying the reputations of companies that form the spine and ribs of our economy – and people who have been associated with them, including me," she said. 

She did not say who the "same group of individuals" were. 

Wheels of justice 

Brown said the best thing for "the country, for the economy, for Eskom, and for me personally" would be a comprehensive investigation.

"It was very heartening to read yesterday that the NPA has established a crack investigative team. In addition, the Special Investigations Unit probe into Eskom that I have requested is awaiting proclamation – and it appears that the announcement of a commission of inquiry is imminent," she said. 

She then continued to say that Eskom was being treated unfairly in the court of public opinion. 

"It presently feels as if Eskom has been beaten to the ground and is being pinned down by the weight of untested allegations while being kicked to death. It is said that the wheels of justice grind slowly. We desperately need to speed them up."

DOWNLOAD THE FULL STATE CAPTURE REPORT

22 Nov 2017

The committee is taking a break while they photocopy Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown's speaking notes to distribute to committee members.  

The hearing is expected to resume in a few minutes. 

22 Nov 2017

Brown denies Guptas influenced her decision making 

Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown started her testimony to Parliament’s Eskom inquiry by denying claims she consulted with members of the Gupta family before making decisions. 

Earlier in the day former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi testified that Tony Gupta and Gupta business partner Salim Essa worked with Brown to compile a list of board members that Tsotsi had the responsibility of appointing to head various committees on the Eskom board. 

He alleged that, when he went to Brown’s house to finalise the list, he found Tony Gupta and Essa in her home. 

Brown started her testimony by saying she would like to respond to Tsotsi’s claims. 

“I have never consulted with anyone on my executive functions. Not Tony Gupta or Salim Essa or anyone else. Why would I hand over my functions to anyone else?”

“In as far as Board appointments are concerned, I report to Cabinet, and Cabinet decides who serves on Boards,” she said.  

“Recommendations to establish Board sub committees come to me from the Boards in writing and I generally approve them as they know their members better than I do.” 

She also said she found it “astonishing”  that Tsotsi had met with Zuma without telling her about it.  

22 Nov 2017

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown begins her testimony 

<p>Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown begins her testimony&nbsp;</p><p></p>

22 Nov 2017

Calls for Guptas to appear before committee 

Before Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown begins her testimony, members of Eskom's Parliamentary committee have called for the Gupta brothers to appear before the committee.

Other MP's made calls for Gupta business partner Salim Essa, Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane Zuma, and Trillian's Eric Wood and Dudu Myeni to appear before the committee. 

22 Nov 2017

Tsotsi finishes testimony, Brown up next 

Former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi has finished his testimony. 

The committee will go to lunch for 30 minutes and the hearing is set to resume at 16:00. 

The next witness is expected to be Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown. 

<p><strong>Tsotsi finishes testimony, Brown up next&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi has finished his testimony.&nbsp;</p><p>The committee will go to lunch for 30 minutes and the hearing is set to resume at 16:00.&nbsp;</p><p>The next witness is expected to be Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown.&nbsp;</p><p></p>

22 Nov 2017

Eskom Inquiry stunned as Tsotsi makes shocking accusations

Members of Parliament listening to evidence by former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi were stunned on Wednesday.

Tsotsi accused former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni of organising a meeting between herself and President Jacob Zuma in 2015, where she advised him to suspend a host of Eskom executives. This occurred after Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown supported the move, he said.

Tsotsi accused the Guptas and Salim Essa of working with Brown regarding a list of board members that Tsotsi had the responsibility of appointing to head various committees on the Eskom board. When he went to Brown’s house to finalise the list, he found the Guptas and Essa in her home, he claimed.

“The lapses in good corporate governance that have been occasioned by poor decision making have opened up the company to exploitation by unscrupulous rent seekers,” he said.

“Those of us who have been and continue to be at the forefront of these events, including any who may have even peripheral knowledge thereof, have both the responsibility and moral obligation to voluntarily provide this knowledge to this committee and the nation.”

“I would like to state here that corruption is the scourge that is denying our people the opportunity of a decent and prosperous livelihood. It is the duty of all of us to rid our society of this evil. I therefore applaud the initiative taken by this Honourable House to get to the bottom of maladministration at State Owned Enterprises.”

22 Nov 2017

Gwede Mantashe: Let the Eskom Inquiry continue

Meanwhile, ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe (photo below by AFP) has told a media briefing in Johannesburg that he is happy with the Eskom Inquiry in Parliament.

"We will see where it ends," he told reporters. "Let's allow this investigation to continue."

<p><strong>Gwede Mantashe: Let the Eskom Inquiry continue</strong></p><p>Meanwhile, ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe (photo below by AFP) has told a media briefing in Johannesburg that he is happy with the Eskom Inquiry in Parliament. </p><p>"We will see where it ends," he told reporters. "Let's allow this investigation to continue."</p><p></p>

22 Nov 2017

Tsotsi claims his ‘removal’ from Eskom was orchestrated elsewhere

Following the Eskom board’s decision to suspend four executives in 2015, former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi was charged with not being a fit director – which he claims forced him to resign under duress.

“Hardly a week went by and l was faced with having to defend myself against accusations from several board members that I was not consulting the Board in the preparatory work on the inquiry,” he told Parliament’s Eskom Inquiry.

“The board engaged a law firm to trump up charges against me that I am not fit to be a director of the Company.

“On 23 March, in the dead of night, I was given an ultimatum by the board to resign or be charged with lack of fitness to be a director. l resigned under duress.”

“The charges against me were spurious,” he said.

“My removal – not resignation – from Eskom, I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt, was orchestrated from somewhere else.”

He pointed to the #GuptaLeaks emails, which shows that former Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa wrote a statement regarding his resignation for Ben Ngubane about 10 days before he resigned.

“This letter was purported to have occurred 10 or so days before my resignation,”  he said.

He said that if the #GuptaEmails are correct, then his “resignation was being discussed long before I resigned”.

“There was a conversation where board members who served with me were having a conversation with an outsider with how to reflect my resignation from the board.

“I have every reason to wonder if my situation was not orchestrated from somewhere.”

Former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi.

<p><strong>Tsotsi claims his ‘removal’ from Eskom was orchestrated
elsewhere

</strong></p><p>Following the Eskom board’s decision to suspend four
executives in 2015, former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi was charged with not
being a fit director – which he claims forced him to resign under duress.

</p><p>“Hardly a week went by and l was faced with having to defend
myself against accusations from several board members that I was not consulting
the Board in the preparatory work on the inquiry,” he told Parliament’s Eskom
Inquiry. 

</p><p>“The board engaged a law firm to trump up charges against me
that I am not fit to be a director of the Company. 

</p><p>“On 23 March, in the dead of night, I was given an ultimatum
by the board to resign or be charged with lack of fitness to be a director. l
resigned under duress.”

</p><p>“The charges against me were spurious,” he said. </p><p>“My removal
– not resignation – from Eskom, I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt, was orchestrated
from somewhere else.” 

</p><p>He pointed to the #GuptaLeaks emails, which shows that
former Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa wrote a statement regarding his resignation for
Ben Ngubane about 10 days before he resigned.

</p><p>“This letter was purported to have occurred 10 or so days
before my resignation,”&nbsp; he said. 
</p><p>He said that if the #GuptaEmails are correct, then his “resignation
was being discussed long before I resigned”. 

</p><p>“There was a conversation where board members who served
with me were having a conversation with an outsider with how to reflect my
resignation from the board.

</p><p>“I have every reason to wonder if my situation was not
orchestrated from somewhere.” 

</p><p><strong>Former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi.</strong></p><p><strong></strong></p>

22 Nov 2017

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.

One of them was around the New Age deal, while the second was to do with leadership changes at Eskom.

In the third request, Tsotsi 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.

<p><strong>Tsotsi's damning revelations links Brown to Guptas<br /></strong></p><p>Former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi has levelled more
damning accusations against Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, Toni Gupta
and their close associate Salim Essa. 

</p><p>“There is a clear association between Minister Brown and the
Gupta family,” he said.</p><p>Tsotsi told Parliament’s Eskom Inquiry that Brown invited
him to her house after a new Eskom board had been appointed in December 2014.

</p><p>“Tony Gupta and Salim Essa were present,” he said. </p><p>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. 

</p><p>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.</p><p>“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. 

</p><p>“My hands were tied.” 

</p><p>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). 
</p><p>“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.”

</p><p>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.
</p><p>One of them was around the New Age deal, while the second was to do with leadership changes at Eskom.</p><p>In the third request, Tsotsi 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.”</p><p>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.

</p><p><strong>Pictured below is Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.</strong></p><p><strong></strong></p>

22 Nov 2017

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.”

22 Nov 2017

Read Zola Tsotsi's full testimony:

22 Nov 2017

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.”

22 Nov 2017

Former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi testifying at Parliament on Wednesday.

<p><strong>Former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi testifying at Parliament on Wednesday. </strong><br /></p><p></p>

22 Nov 2017

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.

22 Nov 2017

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.

22 Nov 2017

WATCH LIVE ON SABC

22 Nov 2017

Brian Molefe's full statement to Eskom Inquiry

22 Nov 2017

Molefe responds to state capture accusations in Parliament

Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe testified in Parliament on Tuesday, denying accusations of colluding with the Guptas over the purchase of Optimum Coal Mine.

Regarding the notorious 'Saxonwold shebeen', He told the inquiry he never said he was at a Saxonwold shebeen.  

"On the issue of the shebeen I will let you know I complained to the press ombudsman about the Sunday Times reporting that I said I was at the shebeen', "The press ombudsman asked the Sunday Times to apologise," he says.

FULL COVERAGE: 'I laboured under the false impression that I had retired' - Molefe

22 Nov 2017

Eskom Inquiry goes to midnight

The Eskom Inquiry on Tuesday ended after midnight, following in-depth testimonies from former board members and former CEO Brian Molefe.

The testimony of former Eskom chair Zola Tsotsi was moved to Wednesday. Also in attendance is Eskom acting CEO Sean Maritz, acting chair Zethembe Khoza and board member Pat Naidoo.

The inquiry has now resumed...

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