Speaking at the State Capture Inquiry on Friday, former Eskom board chair Ben Ngubane has denied any knowledge that his statement which announced the departure of his predecessor Zola Tsotsi was done by the Guptas.
A screengrab of former Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane appearing at the state capture inquiry on 11 September 2020. Picture: SABC/YouTube
JOHANNESBURG – Former Eskom and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane has denied to the Zondo commission that a statement that he issued on Zola Tsotsi’s firing was the same as the one that was sent through by Gupta ally Nazeem Howa.
Ngubane succeeded Tsotsi at Eskom, but he was also part of the board that charged Tsotsi with – among others – appointing Nicholas Linell as a consultant.
He earlier said Tsotsi’s claims that his board was a Gupta board were ‘disgusting’.
Ngubane resigned as Eskom board chair in 2017 when it emerged that his passport had been found among the Gupta leaks, with travel arrangements dating back to 2013.
He has admitted that at the time he was planning to start a gas business with Gupta associate Salim Essa in the Central African Republic, but it fell through when South African soldiers deployed there were killed.
He denied that his travels to Dubai were linked to the Guptas; instead he said he used Emirates Airlines to travel to Europe and Dubai was a just a transit stop.
Ngubane has also denied any knowledge that his statement that announced his predecessor’s departure was done by the Guptas.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo asked him if he had ever seen the statement before his appearance at the commission on Friday.
“No chairperson. I had asked the investigators to get me this statement, but when we met again, they did not give me the statement. They said it was off the table,” Ngubane responded.
The commission presented an email of the statement to him, but Ngubane maintains his statement came from Eskom communications.
WATCH Former Eskom board chair Ben Ngubane at the State Capture Commission