One of us is lying, and I don't think I'm lying, Public Enterprises Minister Lynn Brown told the parliamentary inquiry into state capture on Wednesday evening.
She was reacting to testimony given earlier in the day by former Eskom board chairman Zola Tsotsi, who said that on March 11, 2015, he had been told by Dr Ben Ngubane that a fourth name, that of the financial director, had been given to him [Ngubane] by the minister to add to a list of three executives set to be suspended.
Brown said she did not propose anyone's name for suspension.
Asked by evidence leader Ntuthuzelo Vanara if she had, or had not, given financial director Tsholofelo Molefe's name to Ngubane to add to the list, she responded: "I did not."
Asked if she thought Tsotsi was lying, she said: "The fact that I did not, and he said I did, means that one of us is lying, and I don't think I'm lying."
Earlier, Tsotsi told the inquiry: "Dr Ngubane [told me] that the minister had instructed that the financial director's name be added."
Quizzed about the reasons for the suspensions, Brown listed several.
"Information not forthcoming; information is not accurate; there is no plan at Eskom to get us out of this mess; and, there is no plan to ensure financial viability of the company."
Brown said the situation at the power utility at the time had been dire, with the real possibility of countrywide blackouts.
"I was really panic-stricken... we were actually in a crisis."
Load shedding at the time was costing the country R400-million a day, she said.