Former Eskom secretary Suzanne Daniels has dropped a bombshell about the Gupta family’s operations in her testimony before the Zondo Commission in the state capture enquiry.
Daniels, Eskom’s former legal head, faced a grilling in front of the Zondo Commission on Tuesday following her earlier revelation that she continued meeting Gupta associate Salim Essa even after turning down his alleged attempts to bribe her with R800 million, as reported by IOL. Daniels spoke at length about her meetings with Essa between March 2015 and July 2017.
In the first meeting Essa introduced himself as an advisor to then Public Enterprises minister Lynne Brown, informing Daniels about the suspension of four Eskom executives, including her then boss Matshela Koko, and that the SOE would be facing an inquiry.
Later in 2017, they would meet again, where Essa asked Daniels about why she wouldn’t support Koko’s return and offered her R800m in exchange for changing her mind. Daniels claims that she turned down the offer.
She then spoke in front of the commission about one meeting at Melrose Arch, in July 2017, where Ajay Gupta, Duduzane Zuma and former minister Ben Martins were all present.
“I was in total shock at what I had walked into. Salim then said I must tell Ajay Gupta what was happening with Brian’s case. I just said we were going to see (the) Deputy Judge President (DJP) next week, and we would be discussing the case management of the matter.
“Mr Gupta responded, not particularly to me, that we would need to find someone in the DJP’s office to move this case out. He then said this matter would be easier to deal with when Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma came into power,” Daniels testified, as reported by TimesLIVE.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into state capture, held Daniel’s testimony up to scrutiny, asking what had driven her to meet with a man that had already offered her a bribe.
“I was curious. I could not understand why he wanted anything to do with me,” Daniels responded. “I cannot give you a reason why they would trust me. There has been this theory that I was part of it. I would urge you to look at the Gupta operation; I was not offered bags of cash, I was not invited to any of their functions.”