Political interference at Eskom was norm under Malusi Gigaba, says former legal head

Under the tenure of former minister of public enterprises Malusi Gigaba from 2010 until 2014, political interference at Eskom was heightened. This is according to former Eskom head of legal and compliance Suzanne Daniels. Tender manipulation to award contracts to people friendly to ANC members was the norm and orders from the ministry of public enterprises on how Eskom business should be conducted took place on a daily basis, Daniels said in her testimony – below – at the Zondo Commission. – Bernice Maune

By Bernice Maune 

Suzanne Daniels, whistleblower, said at the Zondo Commission:

“I joined Eskom in 2006 and from inception, there was quite a contestation around procurement matters and just general interference in the day to day running of the utility.

My first experience was with the old order mining rights that Eskom had acquired and needed to be converted. As I was in primary energy, I was tasked with coordinating and preparing those applications for mining rights.

Because they were coal mining rights, it would have given Eskom access to its own coal mines. It would have alleviated a lot of the coal issues that we now experience as a country. However, we went through a series of applications with Mr Maroga and Mr Davies (former CEOs) to submit to the department of mineral resources.

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On the eve of submitting the documents for consideration I was told to not submit them as a political solution would be found. Those mining rights ended up in the hands of private companies. I tried to get the mining rights back but to no avail.

When there were tenders, we were told so and so is behind it. Follow process, make sure you do this and do not waiver. I recall in 2011, I was asked to put together a list of the top 100 suppliers at Eskom together with their contact details because the minister wanted to do an ANC fundraising campaign. I still have that database today. I compiled it because the ministry wanted it.

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There were instructions to the board around not following the Preferential Procurement Framework Act. Minister Gigaba and Minister Gordhan couldn’t agree. So on the eve of the expiration of the exemption we get a notice that says the notice is no longer valid. Minister Gigaba says do not follow the instruction. We say you can’t do that it’s breaking the law and a tussle with the board ensues.

The first nuclear tender, the parties were going to sign. Minister Gigaba says no you are not going to sign. The parties were at the signing ceremony already.

There was a lot of interference from political parties, the chairman would be told to go and meet with someone.”

From the 5:00:21 to 5:07:52 mark, watch Suzanne Daniels discuss political interference at Eskom here.

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