Commission spots another hand in Eskom affairs during Ngubane's tenure

Continuing his testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture, former Eskom chairman Dr Ben Ngubane said he only knew members of the Gupta family from the breakfast sessions that were hosted by TNA, at the time.

Confirming that he had visited the Gupta family home, a number of times, Ngubane said he travelled through Dubai three or four times on business at the time, but not necessarily to visit the family.

While trips through Dubai were confirmed to the commission, Ngubane maintains he went past Dubai but did not go there to shop.

The commission mulled over an issue related to an email address which Ngubane said was used by a Richard Seleke which highlighted a questionable relationship which discussed the entity's issues.

This saw Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo expressing concern at the idea that the Eskom board was the one to make decisions on the entity, yet it seemed someone had input on the affairs of the utility.

The commission's evidence leader Pule Seleka pointed out evidence indicating a possible email that was sent to Ngubane which was possibly similar to a statement issued on then Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi's resignation.

The contentious similarity of the two documents were read out at the commission and highlighted the board's acceptance of Zola Tsotsi's exit. The board lauded Tsotsi and key individuals who stepped down.

The same board confirmed key challenges that faced the utility at the time. Cash constraints, load shedding, and a flawed maintenance problem, with delays and cost overruns, were some of the issues stated in the evidence file.

It was put forward that a Mr Nassim, who had some form of relationship with Ngubane, sent the email that may have coincidentally become a media release on Tsotsi's resignation.

Ngubane, however, said he never saw the said speech/release.

The discussion was on how the certain individual close to Ngubane could have prepared a statement that he intended should be released by Ngubane.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo wanted clarity on why Nassim would get involved.

Although previous testimony by both Venete Klein, including Tshidiso Matona recalled how it was in a meeting with former President Jacob Zuma, which included former SA Airways chairperson Dudu Myeni that the issue to suspend executives would not be a problem as it would be clearly outlined that the executives did nothing wrong.

The commission also heard how it was Tsotsi's role to enforce a proposal for the suspension of the executives on 9 March and 11 March. The reason for their suspensions was to avoid any hindrance by the executives.

Ngubane said it was the board's decision to launch the inquiry into the execs. The word suspension was initially used, by Tsotsi, Ngubane recalled.

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