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'Zuma had nothing to do with Eskom inquiry'

Eskom Chairperson Zola Tsotsi insists Eskom’s inquiry has nothing to do with President Jacob Zuma.

Eskom's chairperson Zola Tsotsi. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - As Eskom Chairperson Zola Tsotsi presents his case to the board as to why he should remain in his position, he's insisted President Jacob Zuma did not ask him to institute an inquiry into the utility's affairs.

Reports last week indicated that Tsotsi had pushed for an independent inquiry because it was what the president wanted.

Eskom Chief Executive Officer Tshediso Matona and three other executives were suspended in order for the probe to take place without influence or interference.

But the power utility's chairperson said the inquiry had nothing to do with Zuma.

"The president did not, and I mean categorically, ask me anything about this. Secondly, I did not institute the inquiry but it's the board of Eskom who instituted the inquiry."

Tsotsi has also denied that there was a leadership battle at the utility and said it was unfortunate that there was an impression of infighting at Eskom.

"It's unfortunate that there's a perception that people are more concerned with the infighting than solving the problems at Eskom."

At the same time, the board reportedly cast a vote of no confidence against Tsotsi, but will offer him a chance to respond on Monday ahead of its decision about whether or not he would be removed.

ESKOM DENIES PLANNING FOR A NATIONAL BLACKOUT

On Sunday, Eskom refuted claims it was preparing for a national blackout after it conducted a national exercise to test the systems in the event of the worst case scenario.

The City Press reported that the simulation test, called 'Exercise Breaking Dawn', was an indication that the national utility is bracing itself for an imminent worst case scenario.

However, the cash strapped utility argued it was a scheduled and regular test set out in its mandate to check the system is fully functional.

The parastatal's Khulu Phasiwe said the test should not come as a surprise because Eskom is just doing what is required.

Meanwhile, Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown, told Parliament on Wednesday that the power cuts are costing the South African economy around R89 billion a month.