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Zondo dismisses Koko's complaint against Ramaphosa

Former Eskom acting Group CEO Matshela Koko testifies at the state capture commission in Johannesburg. File photo.
Former Eskom acting Group CEO Matshela Koko testifies at the state capture commission in Johannesburg. File photo.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Chief justice Raymond Zondo has found that former Eskom acting CEO Matshela Koko “was working with the Guptas or their associates, including Mr Salim Essa, in pursuit of their agenda of state capture and in seeking to loot the coffers of Eskom”.

This finding against Koko follows years of him protesting his innocence, pleading his case not just at the commission itself but also on social media.

Zondo also rejected Koko’s complaint against President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was deputy president at the time the cabinet resolved to remove Koko from his position. Koko argued that the cabinet decision was an act of state capture, a claim Zondo dismissed.

“To the extent that there were concerns that Mr Koko may have engaged in acts of corruption which harmed Eskom, the evidence which has been unearthed by the commission has revealed that cabinet’s concerns about Mr Koko were fully justified,” according to part 4 of the commission's report.

Koko was 'exceptionally argumentative, verbose and repetitive' and 'used the Commission as a platform from which to air his grievances against the media'
State Capture report

Koko blamed his axing on Ramaphosa after the cabinet resolved to “(i)mmediately remove all Eskom executives who are facing allegations of serious corruption and other acts of impropriety, including Mr Matshela Koko”.

“Mr Koko seemed to single out President Ramaphosa as the person to whom he directed his anger arising from the statement.

“During his oral evidence before the commission on December 3 2020, Mr Koko testified that it was President Ramaphosa who had interfered in the affairs of Eskom by directing the new board to find reasons to dismiss him, arguing that this was an example of state capture.

“Koko said President Ramaphosa was acting on the instructions of third parties outside of government, such as Business Leadership SA (BLSA), the World Bank, African Bank, European Investment Bank and KfW, to dismiss the Eskom board and appoint individuals who did not have a conflict of interest.”

The report found that there was “no link between the directive to remove Mr Koko and state capture”.

“The mere fact that he was removed does not mean his removal was intended to achieve corrupt ends or to capture Eskom. The opposite is true; Mr Koko’s removal was part of a package of reforms to avert a crisis.”

The report found that during his time on the stand at the commission Koko was “exceptionally argumentative, verbose and repetitive” and “used the commission as a platform from which to air his grievances against the media”.

The report states that Koko repeatedly insinuated that Glencore was in cahoots with then-deputy president Ramaphosa to act in Glencore’s interests “to the detriment of Eskom and SA”.

“He continually attacked persons who and institutions which were critical of him arising from what had been put in the public arena. He regarded the opportunity given to him to testify as a duel between himself and the evidence leader,” the report states.

Zondo also found that Koko’s claims that former Eskom legal head Suzanne Daniels misled him into believing that the e-mail address infoportal1@zoho.com belonged to Eskom board chair Dr Ben Ngubane and not Gupta partner Salim Essa, were “completely false”.

I told the state capture commission that in my time there was no state capture at Eskom, and if there was I didn’t know about it. Maybe Eskom needs more state capture because in my time, we didn’t burn diesel, we did maintenance
Matshela Koko

“In my view, Mr Koko, consistent with his decision to become a Gupta agent, was feeding Mr Salim Essa with information to enable the Guptas to position themselves advantageously in relation to Eskom's affairs in general and the takeover of Glencore's coal interests in particular.”

The report also mentions a number of phone calls between Essa and Koko made during the period when Eskom was conducting negotiations with McKinsey and Trillian and when Gupta company Tegeta needed Eskom money to buy Optimum Coal Mine from Glencore.

“Mr Koko asserted that he never met the Gupta brothers and never made or received phone calls from Mr Salim Essa or the Gupta brothers. I am able, on the evidence, to reject his denials regarding Mr Salim Essa,” the report states.

During his evidence, Koko extolled his achievements and insisted that Eskom’s finances improved during his tenure and load shedding was reduced.

Speaking to TimesLIVE on Friday, Koko said: “I can confirm that I have read the report. And I tell you now that it is much easier to connect the dots than put across a winnable case. South Africans expect more than that.

“I told the state capture commission that in my time there was no state capture at Eskom, and if there was, I didn’t know about it.

“Maybe Eskom needs more state capture because in my time we didn’t burn diesel, we did maintenance.”

TimesLIVE


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