Former SAA boss Dudu Myeni is seemingly too sick to travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town to attend the parliamentary inquiry into state capture, MPs heard on Wednesday.
"She is not well. Her doctor put her off," inquiry chair Zukiswa Rantho told them, in a briefing ahead of the start of the day's proceedings.
The inquiry, currently focused on allegations of corruption and maladministration at Eskom, is being conducted by Parliament's public enterprises portfolio committee.
Myeni's claim of poor health comes exactly a week after her no-show before the inquiry last Wednesday, at which time she apologised via SMS, saying her lawyer needed more time to prepare.
Rantho said Myeni had phoned her on Monday this week to apologise. The call came after "several letters" were sent to her by the committee.
#DuduMyeni Inquiry chairperson Zukiswa Rantho "said she talked to Ms Myeni who has been booked off sick by her doctor. In a telephone conversation, Ms Myeni apologised to Ms Rantho for not appearing before the committee, saying she has sent a written submission to the inquiry."— Erin Bates (@ermbates) March 7, 2018
"She responded yesterday by calling, and said to us she is not available to come personally to the inquiry."
Rantho said Myeni had apologised.
Further, Myeni had said she was not trying to undermine the inquiry, and was looking forward to coming and explaining herself to it.
"But the doctor has said... she can't fly, she has to drive. And you can imagine driving from Johannesburg, which I thought would also affect her health."
Rantho said Myeni had sent a written submission to the inquiry.
"She thought that by writing... that would at least be acceptable. But I told her that was not acceptable. We want to interact with her, and put questions to her.
"But she said she won't be able to come this week."
Rantho said she had told Myeni to send the inquiry a written letter of explanation and a doctor's certificate.
"I was expecting that to happen yesterday, or early this morning. For now, we haven't received anything," she said.
ACDP MP Steve Swart said it was a pity that the follow-up letter Rantho had asked for had not arrived.
"I've briefly read the statement that she's provided and its basically just a denial of Mr Zola Tsotsi's version of the meeting with the former president [Zuma]," he said.
In explosive testimony before the inquiry in November last year, former Eskom board chair Zola Tsotsi revealed details of a meeting involving Myeni and former president Jacob Zuma at the latter's then Durban residence.
Tsotsi claimed the meeting included discussion of the suspension of four senior executives at the power utility.
On Wednesday, the DA's Natasha Mazzone said it was very clear that Myeni was playing a "cat-and-mouse game" with the inquiry.
There had been ample opportunity for Myeni to appear before it.
"I don't buy this. I think we are being taken for fools... we shouldn't allow this to happen.
"This is a matter of national importance... Very serious allegations have been levelled... I would strongly urge that we stop playing this little game with Ms Myeni that she's attempting to play with us," she said.
Rantho then laid down the law on Myeni's appearance.
"We will give her a last chance up to next week Wednesday. She must come to this committee, we will not go to her. She must also submit a doctor's certificate within 24 hours
"Her submission is not enough... she has to come and answer questions from the members," she said.