POLITICS
06/12/2017 09:26 SAST | Updated 06/12/2017 11:37 SAST

Eskom Interim Board Chair Accuses Khulani Qoma Of Lying During Inquiry

“He [Qoma] is really out of order… he’s really making up stories.”

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

Interim Eskom board chairman Zethembe Khoza on Tuesday evening accused the power utility's spokesman Khulani Qoma of lying last month in testimony before the parliamentary inquiry into state capture.

Three weeks ago, Qoma told members of the public enterprises portfolio committee -- which is conducting the probe -- that Khoza had snuck out of a meeting earlier this year to call a "G-brother".

But on Tuesday, Khoza, in his testimony, told MPs: "I think he is lying. I never told him that."

On November 14, Qoma -- testifying under oath -- told the inquiry that on March 2 this year, he had recommended to Khoza that acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko and its financial director Anoj Singh be suspended.

Qoma said Khoza had then shocked him.

"He say this will be lucky if it succeeds. I asked him why and he said because [Public Enterprises] Minister [Lynne] Brown is captured. He then explained that Minister Brown reports to the Guptas."

Qoma also said in his testimony that Khoza had also told him former Eskom board chairman Ben Ngubane had "come very close" to suspending Koko, but he "had been stopped in his tracks by Minister Brown".

He said Ngubane had received an anonymous letter with a list of allegations against Koko, and had called a board meeting to recommend Koko be suspended.

"Just moments before... Koko was called, "he (Khoza) snuck out of the room to 'make a call to a G brother'. I understood that to mean a Gupta brother," Qoma said.

Asked on Tuesday by evidence leader Ntuthuzelo Vanara about this phone call, Khoza said: "That's incorrect."

Asked by Vanara if he had told Qoma that one of the Gupta brothers had phoned Brown, and she had phoned Ngubane to stop the suspension, he repeated: "That is not correct."

Khoza later said: "He [Qoma] is really out of order... he's really making up stories."

The inquiry is due to get underway on Wednesday.