Former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni. (File photo: Gallo Images)
- Nicholas Linnell says Myeni was known to be president Jacob Zuma’s close ally, and therefore he did not question her involvement in Eskom matters.
- It was Myeni who recommended Linnell head up the Eskom inquiry in 2015.
- Linnell had previously done work for Myeni in companies where she was board chairperson.
Former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni’s active involvement in the affairs of Eskom as well as the suspension of the company’s senior executives in 2015 was due to her close relationship with ex-president Jacob Zuma, the state capture inquiry heard.
This is the assessment given by business consultant, Nicholas Linnell, who on Monday appeared before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Linnell was roped in by Myeni to conduct an investigation at Eskom following a number of consultations with her, including a meeting at Zuma’s Durban residence in March 2015.
Linnell told the commission that Myeni had summoned him to attend an urgent meeting at Zuma’s residence in Pretoria on 6 March 2015. However Zuma didn’t show up, and Myeni proceeded to brief him on what needed to be done at Eskom, with regards to the direction of a planned investigation into the management of the power utility which was at the time battling financial challenges and power outages.
The three executives that were suspended were former CEO Tshediso Matona, then-group capital executive, Dan Marokane and then-technology and commercial executive, Matshela Koko. A fourth member of the executive, then-finance director Tsholofelo Molefe was added to the list, Linnell said during the hearing.
The justification for their suspension was said to prevent them from interfering with the proceedings, according to evidence by former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi.
Evidence leader, Advocate Pule Seleka, asked Linnell if he ever asked himself, or Myeni why she was getting involved in the affairs of the power utility since she was chair of SAA.
Linnell said he never asked but in his mind he had a clear understanding that she is “publicly said to be a close confidante and political ally of the president, and to the extent that she is the SAA chairman is because she is the confidante and political ally of the president.”
“Her role there was not as the chairman of SAA…but as the confidante and ally of the president whether she was doing his bidding insofar as SAA or Eskom, that is my understanding.”
Myeni was a central figure in the facilitation of meetings around the Eskom matters, and appeared to act as Zuma’s intermediary. She is also the one who recommended that Linnell be appointed to head of the investigation.
Linnell, who had been described by forensic investigator, Paul O’ Sullivan, as Myeni’s “Mr Fixit” had an established working relationship with her, having conducted investigations in companies she was involved in, such as the Mhlathuze Water Board and SAA.
The enquiry continues.