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The controversial Koeberg steam generator project that saw Eskom taken to court by Westinghouse after its award to then French company Areva was at the centre of discussions on former Eskom group CEO Matshela Koko.
During his second appearance at the Zondo Commission, Koko said that a witch-hunt is the reason he was eventually pushed out of the company. Koko has been implicated by four witnesses, including Suzanne Daniels who was then group secretary. Daniels testified that Koko invited her to a meeting at Melrose Arch and introduced her to Salim Essa, the Gupta’s lieutenant and business partner.
Koko was present and unfazed as Essa asked Daniels for advice on how to suspend four Eskom executives, allegedly to make way for officials who would be more compliant to the Gupta family takeover of multimillion-rand contracts. He also stands accused of awarding a R1bn tender to his daughter’s company, Impulse Trading. In addition, he reportedly sent sensitive information relating to tender deals to an account registered to a certain ‘Business Man’, now believed to be Essa.
Koko has denied all allegations. He referred to the Koeberg steam generator project which was undertaken by Eskom in 2014.
“There was a project called Koeberg steam generator replacement. It had been delayed for quite some time. As an engineer, I understood the dynamics as there were serious issues with the project’s team that was running it. Koeberg was the precursor to the nuclear bid. It was the single biggest nuclear project,” he said.
“I thought going to and fro was nonsensical. We had to do it properly and I made sure of it. Nuclear was politicised at the time. Nuclear is President Zuma and renewables is alleged to be Cyril Ramaphosa, and those dynamics played big time at the ANC conference. It was the right thing to do (implementing the project) and I would take no prisoners (in executing it).”
Koko then said that he was attacked for pushing the Koeberg project.
“I have never been attacked so much. The document that was served at court was similar to conspiracy to what we are doing now.”
Koko says there were also allegations that he and former acting Eskom CEO Collen Matjila colluded to have the contract awarded to Areva, as he was seen as being against renewable energy.
“I was the face of it. I took pain over that because they argued that I’m anti-renewables and pro-nuclear.”
Koko has concluded his testimony at the Zondo Commission.
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Watch Koko’s full testimony at the Commission below:
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