Eskom's former chair Zola Tsotsi has revisited a meeting he held with former president Jacob Zuma, former South African Airways (SAA) chair Dudu Myeni and consultant Nicholas Linell to discuss the future of the power utility.
Tsotsi, who was essentially hired by the Gupta brothers for the post, told the state capture commission about the circumstances that led to the suspension of three executives at the power utility – one of them being Matshela Koko.
Tsotsi met with Zuma, Linell and Myeni at the presidential residence in Durban, in March 2015. He said he had received a call from Myeni, informing him of the meeting, which had been at the request of Zuma.
Dudu Myeni's interference at Eskom
At the meeting, he said Myeni had expressed discontent over the handling of the Eskom War Room, particularly in light of the power utility's dwindling financial and operational capabilities.
"We were briefed by Dudu Myeni as to the purpose of the meeting was…She then made a statement to the effect that there were concerns about the performance of Eskom and that there needs to be an inquiry into these problems," he said.
The Eskom War Room – which comprised of the Departments of Energy, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Public Enterprises, National Treasury, Economic Development, Water and Sanitation and Eskom, as well as technical officials – was aimed at looking into and understanding the state-owned entity's short and long-term energy challenges.
Tsotsi further said that Myeni then elaborated that while the inquiry gets underway, three executives – Koko, Dan Marokane and Tshediso Matona should be suspended.
He told the commission that while he was not opposed to the inquiry, he took issue with how the matter came about. Tsotsi said Zuma then entered the room and Myeni raised the issue again, but the former president seemed to be clued up about Eskom's on goings.
Tsotsi further told the proceedings' chair, Deputy Justice Raymond Zondo, how he found it strange that Myeni was seemed to know so much about Eskom – despite having an embattled entity to preside over herself, SAA.
"I raised concern again of the impact of having to take the drastic action of suspending the executives in a situation like this, because you want them not to impede the process…or at least that was the rationale," Tsotsi said.
Matona, who was CEO of Eskom, gave testimony before the commission on Monday, 7 September 2020, saying he had agreed to take a year's salary in exchange for resigning.