Gigaba allegedly refused to allow appointment of white CEO at Eskom

Gigaba allegedly refused to allow appointment of white CEO at Eskom

- Former Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba reportedly took issue with the appointment of a temporary CEO at Eskom over the colour of his skin

- Former Eskom chair Zola Tsotsi claims Steve Lennon's appointment had been a problem

- This comes as Tsotsi testifies at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture

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Former Eskom board chair Zola Tsotsi claims that Malusi Gigaba had initially agreed with the appointment of Steve Lennon as Eskom's temporary leader.

IOL reports that Brian Dames had left his post as CEO, leaving the power utility looking for a new boss in 2014.

The board had decided not to select any of its members for the post, choosing to appoint an executive instead, gathered.

Lennon, a group executive at the time, was the agreed-upon candidate, according to Tsotsi. Gigaba had been consulted over the decision and the former chair claims he was on board.

Tsotsi then told the State Capture Inquiry that Gigaba had done an about-turn just shy of the general elections, allegedly condemning the appointment of a white citizen to the post:

“I was taken aback. His manner was surprising."

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Gigaba had allegedly insisted that Collin Matjila should be appointed instead, despite this move going against the board's decision.

The new CEO would later help facilitate a deal between the power utility and The New Age, a newspaper owned by the infamous Gupta family.

This deal is the main focus in Tsotsi's appearance before the inquiry, which is probing the decisions made by Eskom to sponsor business breakfasts for the agency. The deal Matjila signed was to the tune of R43 million.

When Matjila's decision was questioned, Tsotsi claims that Tony Gupta had approached him to 'make it go away'.

In another incident that caused concern, Gupta associate Salim Essa had allegedly attempted to interfere in the appointment of committee members at Eskom. Tsotsi claims:

“I was taken aback by his email as I did not understand his role. I ignored his email and continued to compile the list as I wanted to and I passed this on to the minister (Lynne Brown). The minister then sent back the list, and gave me the same list that Mr Essa had sent me."

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