Johannesburg – The Zondo commission will hear Eskom and McKinsey related evidence on Thursday.
Former Trillian employee Msilo Mothepu, Jean-Christophe Mieszala, Dr David Robert Fine and Dr Alexander Weiss are expected to take the stand.
On Wednesday former Eskom board member and acting chief executive Zethembe Khoza said the board did not apply its mind when making the decision to pay out four of its executives after they were suspended in 2015.
Khoza was responding to concerns raised at the commission about why the board opted to spend millions in settlements for the executives to leave.
The commission heard that the executives initially indicated they had no intentions of losing their jobs and wanted to clear their names.
Khoza said human resources advised that normally if there was a dispute of this nature “we go the settlement route”.
“But there was no dispute at the time.
“The suspension was never meant to be used to charge them in terms of misconduct.”
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Zondo put it to Khoza that the sequence of events implied that the board did not want the executives back, especially in the case of the then financial director Tsholofelo Molefe, who took a payout significantly higher than the other executives after moving to challenge her suspension.
The other executives took settlements equating to their annual salaries, while Molefe settled at 18 months.
Khoza said the board initially had no problem with the executives returning.
He said, however, the executives later felt the board didn’t need them, hence the separation decision.
“I believe the board still needed them.”
Khoza said the decision to suspend Tshediso Matona, Matshela Koko, Dan Marokane and Molefe was implicitly driven by the then minister of public enterprises Lynne Brown.
He submitted that the board chairperson, Zola Tsotsi, had brought the matter to the board in an earlier meeting, but the decision was made during a meeting on March 11, 2015, when the minister addressed the board.
“When the minister addressed us she said she had no intention of instructing the board on what to do.
“We didn’t question the minister on the suspensions because she was not explicit in her instruction to suspend certain executives.
“There was a lot of debate on several issues but I don’t recall the debate on the suspensions.”
He said the board was under the impression that the chairperson was taking instructions from the shareholder and the president.
Khoza said if the evidence submitted to the commission was correct then the Eskom board was influenced from outside.
Khoza said the board had the confidence to suspend the executives only after the minister had addressed them.
He said it was the minister who raised concerns about the area of finance and that was what led to the suspension of Molefe, the then financial director.
“My understanding at the time due to the way it was presented was that the executives to be suspended were Matona, Koko and Marokane.”
Khoza denied allegations that he bragged about how he led the charge of the exit of the executives and the executives could have asked for more but they did not.