'We put you in the job, and we can take you out' - Tony Gupta to Eskom chair Zola Tsotsi
“Chairman, we are the ones who put you in this position and we are the ones who can take you out.”
This is what Tony Gupta allegedly said to former Eskom board chairman Zola Tsotsi in February 2015.
Tsotsi recited these words at the state capture inquiry on Friday when he continued giving testimony about Eskom's alleged irregular breakfast deal with The New Age newspaper to the tune of R43m that was awarded to the Guptas in 2014.
According to Tsotsi, during the state of the nation address in 2015, he was called in to a meeting by then-minister of public enterprises, Lynne Brown.
After this meeting, Tsotsi received a call from Gupta, who summoned him to a meeting.
When he arrived at the meeting, it did not last long as the Gupta brother simply threatened Tsotsi, who did not even get the opportunity to sit down.
Gupta was fuming that Tsotsi had not been co-operating with their instructions, and revealed to him that he was Eskom board chair only because of the Guptas.
“Tony Gupta was very clear. He said to me, 'chairman, you are not assisting us', and with 'us' I understood him to mean the Gupta family and their businesses,” said Tsotsi.
“I said I do not understand and he said 'every time we want something from Eskom, you are not coming forth'.
“I was not able to assist him. On this particular occasion he said, 'chairman, we are the ones who put you in this position and we are the ones who can take you out'," Tsotsi recalled.
“I said to him ‘you do what you have to do and let me do the job cabinet has asked me to do', and that was the end of the meeting.”
A month later, Tsotsi left Eskom.
Tsotsi said: “In essence this was a threat and that something was imminent. Of course, as it had occurred, I then left Eskom about a month later.
“I could only speculate. I did not have personal knowledge of what he was talking about but I could connect the dots to where it was coming from. My exit from Eskom was orchestrated from somewhere. When I connect the dots I still believe it was orchestrated.”