Former Eskom chiefs Molefe and Tsotsi to face Eskom inquiry

Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe during a meeting with Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts on May 30, 2017. (Gallo Images / Sowetan / Esa Alexander)
Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe during a meeting with Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts on May 30, 2017. (Gallo Images / Sowetan / Esa Alexander)

Cape Town – Former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe and former chairperson Zola Tsotsi will give evidence in the Eskom inquiry conducted by Parliament’s public enterprises portfolio committee on Tuesday.

Molefe and Tsotsi’s names have been raised countless times during the inquiry, which has seen damning testimonies from former and suspended executives, business rescue practitioners, consultants and pension scheme officials.

Tsotsi was chair from 2011 to 2015 and Molefe was chief executive from 2015 to 2016.

The inquiry is investigating corruption and state capture allegations at Eskom, following former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report and the countless allegations contained in the #GuptaLeaks.

Molefe has been accused of colluding with the Guptas in their bid to purchase Optimum Coal Mine from Glencore.

When asked by evidence leader Advocate Nthuthuzelo Vanara about Molefe’s role in influencing an Eskom meeting which took place in April 2016 regarding a prepayment made to Gupta-owned company Tegeta, Daniels said: “Based on what I know, as what happened at the time, and based on what has subsequently come out in the media, I am convinced that there must have been some undue influence.”

Molefe's resignation/retirement ordeal also received attention, with Eskom Pension and Provident Fund CEO Sibusiso Luthuli testifying that Molefe should never even have been on the retirement fund, because he was on a fixed-term contract. This after he received a R30m pension payout, which was frozen pending a court case regarding the matter.

Former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe and former chairperson Zola Tsotsi. (Photos: Gallo)

Regarding Tsotsi, former finance director Tsholofelo Molefe told the inquiry that it seemed Tsotsi “was under pressure from people outside”.

Molefe, ex-CEO Tshediso Matona, Dan Marokane and Matshela Koko were suspended by Tsotsi in March 2015 in circumstances that eventually saw the appointment of executives Anoj Singh and Molefe at Eskom. Only Koko returned after the suspension was lifted. Tsotsi also resigned as chairperson a few weeks after he implemented the suspension.

Former Eskom chief executive Brian Dames told the inquiry that Tsotsi directly interfered in procurement issues at Eskom from 2011, when Malusi Gigaba was public enterprises minister.

Dames claimed that “one of the first things that happened, which I was not pleased with, was that he (Tsotsi) identified two Eskom people to work in his office. The Eskom chairman and chief executive normally shared an assistant.”

Dames then explained various matters that struck him as irregular. “(The board’s) involvement in procurement matters and engaging with suppliers was not right,” he said.

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown and Deputy Minister Ben Martins are also expected to testify this week. A report will likely be completed and handed to the National Assembly to be officially debated next week.

Meanwhile, Koko’s disciplinary hearing is scheduled to restart at Eskom’s headquarters in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Koko faces charges relating to nepotism and conflict of interest. He allegedly failed to declare, accurately and in a timely manner, that his 26-year-old stepdaughter Koketso Choma’s company was doing business with Eskom Generation when Koko was head of the unit.

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