9 November 2017

South Africa: Deputy Minister Refutes Gupta Meeting Claims

Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Ben Martins has rebutted a testimony by Eskom's suspended company Secretary and legal services head Suzanne Daniels that he attended a tea party that was also attended by, among others, members of the Gupta family.

The Deputy Minister briefed the media at the Imbizo Centre in Parliament on Thursday.

"I am perplexed by Ms Suzanne Daniels' testimony to the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom.

"She falsely claimed that I had attended a tea party in Johannesburg with her, Mr Ajay Gupta, Mr Salim Essa and Mr Duduzane Zuma," Deputy Minister Martins said.

"The truth is that I met Ms Daniels several times in her capacity as Eskom Company Secretary, together with the then Chairperson of Eskom Dr Ben Ngubane, Department of Public Enterprises Director-General Richard Seleke and Minister Lynne Brown in Cape Town and Tshwane to discuss the Brian Molefe matter.

"I admit to admonishing Ms Daniels for the governance lapses that had taken place under her watch as the Company Secretary and Legal Advisor at Eskom, during the meetings we had with the Minister of Public Enterprises and Dr Ngubane. My collegial constructive criticism was never meant as a personal attack," he said.

The Deputy Minister's response comes after Daniels gave a testimony at a Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee's inquiry into Eskom.

Briefing journalists, the Deputy Minister said he would have responded to the testimony on Wednesday, but that he could not do so as he heard about it late on Wednesday in between his other official commitments.

"As the head of Eskom's legal department, Ms Daniels should account to Parliament for what happened under her watch rather than seek to use the occasion to reinvent herself as clueless ignoramus."

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