Former Eskom CEO 'discussed coal supply deals with Guptas'

18 October 2017 - 14:16
By Bianca Capazorio

Former Eskom CEO Brian Dames has told MPs that he discussed coal supply contracts with a member of the Gupta family at a meeting brokered by a former advisor to finance minister Malusi Gigaba.

Dames said the meeting took place at the offices of an IT firm owned by the Guptas‚ Sahara Computers.

Testifying before the Public Enterprises committee's inquiry into state capture and responding to a question by DA MP Natasha Mazzone‚ Dames said he was asked by then Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba's adviser Siyabonga Mahlangu to "see some people".

Dames had been an employee of Eskom from 1987 and rose through the ranks to occupy various senior positions‚ including serving as CEO for four years‚ before resigning in March 2014.

Under tough questioning from MPs‚ Dames said he did not know who the people he had met were but said he believed one of them was one of the Gupta brothers.

He said the meeting had been "strange" and had made him "very angry".

Dames said he told Mahlangu after the meeting to "never bring these people to me again".

"He arranged a meeting where I was present‚ it was somewhere in Midrand‚ there was one other individual in this discussion. I assume it was one of the brothers and after this meeting I was quite angry‚ I was very angry‚" he said.

The former Eskom chief said three items were discussed at that meeting.

"He said 'we've decided we can work with you'- I don't know who 'we' was‚" Dames said of the conversation. "There was a request for a coal contract for Lethabo which is very strange because Lethabo is a unique power station‚ it needed no additional coal. There was a request for another coal station after Medupi and Kusile- a Coal 3 thing and then there was the newspaper thing."

Pressed for more detail by EFF MP Floyd Shivambu‚ who showed him pictures of the three Gupta brothers on his iPad‚ Dames said he could only say for certain that he had not met with two of the men shown to him.

He however added that the meeting had taken place at Sahara Computers in Midrand.

ANC MP Namhla Nobanda questioned how "from 2014 until now‚ you still cannot tell us whether one of the men you met that day" was one of the Gupta brothers despite them appearing "on TV‚ in stories‚ in movies‚ everything".

Dames only responded that he could not‚ and that he did not watch movies.

ANC MP Rembuluwani Tseli said the fact that "you can't identify them even after you have met them‚ might create problems for you in the near future".