Ngubane concedes some instructions carried out at Eskom could have been from Gupta-linked Sallim Essa

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Former Eskom Board Chairperson Ben Ngubane has conceded that some of the instructions carried out by the board could have been from the Gupta-linked, Sallim Essa.

This contradicted his earlier version to the State Capture Commission that the email instruction to terminate media house contracts came from the Public Enterprises Director-General Richard Seleke.

He was forced to change tact when the commission’s evidence leader, Pule Seleka, pointed out that Seleke had not been appointed to the position at the time.

“At least on the evidence we have, in so far as you say the businessman you were communicating with here was Mr. Richard Seleke … on the evidence we have, it cannot be,” pointed out the evidence leader.

“But I have conceded that,” said Ngubane.

“If indeed it was to be found that it was Mr. Sallim Essa that would reflect that he expected you to go along with what was written in that email,” said Deputy Chief Justice Zondo.

Former Eskom Board Chairperson Ben Ngubane’s testimony:

Removal of former board chairperson Zola Tsotsi

The commission heard how external parties influenced the appointment and removal of some executives at Eskom. However, Ngubane told the commission that the removal of his predecessor Zola Tsotsi was for business and operational reasons.

Seleka questioned Ngubane on why certain individuals outside, particularly Gupta-linked individuals were privy to decisions of the board before they could be announced.

Ngubane resigned as Eskom board chair in 2017 when it emerged that his passport had been found among the Gupta leaks, with travel arrangements dating back to 2013.

When he appeared before the commission previously, Ngubane admitted that he was planning to start a gas business with Gupta associate Salim Essa in the Central African Republic, but it fell through when South African soldiers deployed there were killed.

The proceedings continue at the commission: