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Former Eskom Boss Felt 'Frightened and Intimidated' By Tony Gupta

'Tony Gupta gave the impression he had a very close relationship with President Jacob Zuma.'

22/11/2017 14:17 SAST | Updated 22/11/2017 14:17 SAST
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Zola Tsotsi.

Tony Gupta gave the impression he had a very close relationship with President Jacob Zuma, former Eskom board chairman Zola Tsotsi told MPs on Wednesday.

Testifying before the parliamentary inquiry into state capture, he said Gupta had asked him on three occasions to do something, but on each he had not been able to do so.

"I need to indicate that when I've had occasion to discuss something with him, and he had wanted something specific from me, when I was not able to give it to him, he then turned round and said he must report me to Baba [Zuma], because I am working with Baba's enemies.

"The impression he gave me distinctly is he had a very close relationship with Baba, and he felt he could do anything. That I assume was the source of his power.

Asked if he was frightened and intimidated by Tony Gupta, he responded: "There was certainly an element of intimidation. Yes, that you can say."

He had operated on the basis that if the president was unhappy "with what I'm doing or I'm not doing with regard to these gentlemen [the Guptas]", he would have come and told him.

"From that perspective, I felt that if there was need for either admonishment or whatever... it would happen."

Asked to give examples of what Tony Gupta had asked him to do, he said: "There's probably about three things he wanted directly from me. On all of them, I was not able to assist him...

"A typical example is he came to me and said they were interested in supplying gas to the OCGTs [open-cycle gas turbines] in the Western Cape. [He said] they don't have access to the Western Cape markets... He would like me to assist them, to facilitate that.

"Now...at the time there was an MOU signed with a particular company for exactly the same purpose... I informed him the matter was out of the hands of Eskom... he then came back later on and said to me we are dealing with Baba's enemies, and that particular company should not have got what it got."