Former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi has made explosive claims about who was behind the suspension of several of the utility’s executives.
He told Parliament’s Public Enterprises portfolio committee that former South African Airways (SAA) chairperson Dudu Myeni was the one who broached the idea in March 2015 and that President Jacob Zuma was aware of it.
Tsotsi has been testifying in a parliamentary inquiry into allegations of state capture at Eskom.
Tsotsi has broken his silence about the “astonishing events” that led to CEO Tshediso Matona and three other executives being suspended in March 2015 pending the outcome of an inquiry into the utility’s woes.
His story begins with an encounter with Minister Lynne Brown a month before the board implemented the suspensions. He told lawmakers that she accused him of interfering with Eskom’s management. Later that day, he says that Tony Gupta wanted to meet and suggested that the Indian family had the power to have him removed from his position.
“Tony told me and I quote: ‘Chairman, you are not helping us with anything.'”
Tsotsi told MPs his meeting with Brown and Gupta gave him the sense that “sinister clouds” were gathering.
Myeni then called him to President Jacob Zuma’s presidential residence in Durban where, he claims, she told him it was necessary to suspend several executives.
“I found this matter altogether shocking and proceeded to question the need to suspend these executives as I saw this as a recipe for inducing instability.”
Matona and three other executives were suspended by the board just days later.
The surprise announcement was followed by a downgrade of Eskom’s credit rating.
WATCH: Zola Tsotsi appears before Parly committee on state capture