Former Eskom board chair, Zola Tsotsi says he first met the Gupta brothers at a fundraising gala dinner that proceeded the African National Congress (ANC) January 8th Rally in 2014.
The former board chair says the brothers were seated at the ANC top six table, where the former chairperson of the South African Broadcasting Corporation EllenTshabalala was also present.
Tsotsi says he was invited to the dinner because Eskom was one of the main sponsors of the event.
Chair of the Commission Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo questioned why State-Owned Entities (SOE) were sponsoring political party functions like the ANC.
Tsotsi has denied they were invited to raise money for the party.
“Fundraising of the ANC, it is publicly known to be such. You are brought in to seat at the main table of the top six of the ANC. It just seems improbable that the ANC is just going to allow you to seat there if you’re not adding to the purpose of the function which is to raise funds. You are right at the top you must, as Eskom, have contributed significantly. What do you say to that?” Deputy Chief Justice Zondo asked.
“I am not aware of that. I was not made aware of that. I was never told there is such a contribution,” Tsotsi responded.
Pressure on Eskom board
Zola Tsotsi has told the Commission he received pressure from outside regarding how the Eskom board was to be run. He earlier explained how a board meeting was cancelled last minute in 2015 under the instructions of former President Jacob Zuma and the acting Director General from the Department of Public Enterprises.
Zola Tsotsi recounts government interference with board affairs at Eskom:
Tostsi says he believed the Minister had powers over how the board was run but the Commission’s evidence leader, Advocate Pule Seleka disputed this. He explained to the Commission that they found no provision or memorandum of incorporation at the SOE that calls the minister to call or cancel a board meeting.
The minister and the president had no power to instruct, cancel nor postpone a board meeting at the power utility.
“That would suggest to me that the board would jealously need to guard against the usurpation of any of its control. It has got to realise ‘we are in control of this entity. We should be left alone to run the affairs of the company’…You would have the same sentiments of what it means for the board to be in control?” the Advocate probed.
Tsotsi answered yes to the probing from Advocate Seleka.
Commission of Inquiry into State Capture hears testimony from Zola Tsotsi: