Becoming a whistleblower changed her life ‘forever’

11 March 2018 - 10:50 By Nico Gous
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Suzanne Daniels. File photo.
Suzanne Daniels. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Becoming a whistleblower changed her life “forever”.

That is what Eskom’s head of legal compliance Suzanne Daniels said on Sunday in an interview with eNCA.

“You want to get some normality back into your life‚ but it’s changed forever‚” Daniels said.

“When it’s you‚ the person that is affected‚ it’s a whole different ball game. Objective and rationally you know those things‚ but then when you get down to the nitty-gritty you have to think‚ ‘I can’t just go to a supermarket anymore’.”

The Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) found on Tuesday that Eskom suspending Daniels was an “unfair labour practice”.

“The respondent party Eskom is ordered to uplift the suspension with immediate effect and take the applicant back into its employ with effect from March 19 2018‚” CCMA commissioner Prince Kekana ruled.

Eskom was also ordered to pay Daniels her salary for the five months she was suspended.

Daniels blew the whistle on state capture at Eskom while testifying in parliament last year. She compiled a report implicating senior Eskom managers in the Trillian/McKinsey saga. Eskom paid global consultancy McKinsey and Gupta-linked financial firm Trillian R1.6-billion.

Daniels also issued letters of demand to McKinsey and Trillian in October to the value of R1.6-billion. She was suspended shortly after the letters of demand were sent to McKinsey and Trillian by then acting CEO Sean Maritz. Maritz has since been suspended and subsequently resigned.

Daniels was grateful for the “male-dominated” working environment to keep up a “stoic” demeanour.

“My family used to send me messages in the morning‚ ‘Remember your rock face’‚” Daniels said.

“It was really hard‚ because you have one persona at work‚ trying to keep it together.”

She thanked her faith‚ family‚ friends and South Africans for their support.

“The superficial people disappeared.”

Daniels said whistleblowing in the corporate sector is tough‚ because you do not know where the information is going to end up.

“The people that you think that you can trust you can’t‚ end up being the ones that try and vilify you‚ try and make you out to be a liar‚ discredit you and an emotional woman.”

Times Select reported in February that Daniels believed she was under surveillance after a suspicious vehicle was seen outside her house in Pretoria.

Police spoke to neighbours‚ security guards in the street and reviewed CCTV footage. They found at least three cars had been seen in the vicinity‚ at one point stopping together in the road while the drivers spoke to each other from inside their vehicles.

Police are investigating a case of intimidation.

Daniels described her home as “Fort Knox”.

“I am not used to living like that‚ but you also recognise what is necessary.”

– Additional reporting by Kyle Cowan

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