08/11/2017 13:09 SAST | Updated 08/11/2017 13:09 SAST

Inquiry: Former Eskom Board Chair 'Pressured' To Ignore Law

Former finance director tells parliamentary inquiry that Zola Tsotsi was under 'pressure from outside' to flout correct procedures.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Evidence leader Ntuthuzelo Vanara on Wednesday offered a scathing assessment of former Eskom board chairman Zola Tsotsi while questioning a witness who appeared before the parliamentary inquiry into state-owned companies.

The inquiry was hearing testimony from Tsholofelo Molefe, who served as finance director at the utility from January 2014 to June 2015.

Vanara told Molefe she was painting a picture of Tsotsi as somebody who abused the law.

"When it suits what he wants to do, he uses the law; when the law does not suit what he wants to do, including the Constitution, which is the highest law in the land, he utterly disregards that. Do you agree with this?" he asked her.

Molefe said she did not want to speculate.

"My sense of what really transpired is that he was under pressure. Particularly because when I asked him why cancel the board meeting to sign off the financials, he indicated that he's under pressure from people outside.

"I would say it was pressure," she said.

Earlier, Molefe described how she herself was pressured to sign an agreement with consulting company Regiments, but had declined to do so, because correct procedures were not being followed.

In this she had been supported by the Eskom board at the time.

Molefe said Tsotsi's response at the time had been: "We're busy wasting time with long-winded procurement processes, and heads are going to roll if the minister does not receive the financial sustainability plan in June."