All eyes are expected to be on Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza, who is scheduled to be the first witness at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on Friday as investigators delve into alleged corruption at the power utility.
Mabuza's testimony comes after the commission's legal team spent two days setting the scene about the alleged state capture of state-owned entities (SOEs) by shining the spotlight on Eskom.
Their work included a full gap analysis report, which sought to highlight existing reports or findings on Eskom, and statements which had been placed before the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises.
The commission set down the next three weeks to focus on the power utility.
"Chair, you will see why it becomes important for the commission to deal with questions of allegations dealing with state capture relating to Eskom, due to its centrality to the sector, budget and procurement opportunities," evidence leader Vincent Maleka, SC, said on Wednesday.
This is what can be expected over the next few weeks:
- February 22 & 25: Eskom Board chairperson Jabu Mabuza testifies.
- February 28: Former finance minister Trevor Manuel testifies. The commission said Manuel was expected to give evidence on what was said by a member of the ANC national executive committee (NEC).
- March 01 : Evidence relating to a firm called Huarong is expected. Maleka revealed that it was a new issue reflecting a model of state capture of state-owned resources that the commission "has not seen before".
- March 07 : Evidence relating to consulting firm McKinsey is expected. The evidence of McKinsey is expected to relate to the contractual relationship with Eskom. The commission is expected to interrogate the so-called master services agreement or the corporate services agreement which Maleka expressed concern about.
- March 11: Standard Bank's Ian Sinton is scheduled to take the stand. Maleka said Sinton's evidence would reveal something that the legal team believed had not been investigated before (i.e. the movement of funds between some of the entities that provided professional services for Transnet and Eskom into accounts Eskom held). "Standard Bank raised concerns and asked for explanations which were not sufficient. They filed suspicious transaction reports and cancelled some accounts as a result. This is a vital part of investigating state capture and money laundering," Maleka said.
- March 14: Two whistleblowers are expected to testify. The commission is to complete its body of evidence on the state-owned entity with the evidence of two whistleblowers who cannot be named.