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Tsotsi says Guptas threatened him with ‘Baba’ Zuma to try get their way at Eskom

Former Eskom board chairperson Zola Tsotsi appeared at the state capture commission on Tuesday, where he said he met the Guptas three times at either Saxonwold or Sahara, at their behest.

A screengrab shows former Eskom chair Zola Tsotsi at the state capture inquiry on 8 September 2020. Picture: SABC Digital/YouTube

JOHANNESBURG – Former Eskom board chairperson Zola Tsotsi says the Gupta's threatened him with "baba", and it was common knowledge that if you didn't do what they wanted – you were going against the wishes of the president.

Tsotsi appeared at the state capture commission on Tuesday, where he said he met the Guptas three times at either Saxonwold or Sahara, at their behest.

He said he first met them at the African National Congress January 8 dinner, where Eskom had bought tickets to attend.

Tsotsi said on the three occasions that he met the Guptas they wanted a gas contract, one of their people to be employed in Eskom procurement and they told Tsotsi to make an inquiry into an irregular The New Age contract ‘go away’.

“They were close enough to the president to threaten people with ‘baba’, as they call him. They did the same to me at some point.”

WATCH: Ex-Eskom board chair Zola Tsotsi returns to Zondo Inquiry

In January, Tsotsi repeated his claim to the commission that Tony Gupta told him that he was put in his position by the controversial family and they would remove him if they wanted to.

He resigned after being accused of interfering with the executive to avoid a motion of no confidence from his fellow board members.

But he would later allege that the Guptas wanted exclusivity to supply gas through Eskom units in the Western Cape even though other businesses had already signed commitments with utility.

Tsotsi said Tony Gupta told him that they would remove him from his position.

WHY DID ESKOM BUY TICKETS TO ATTEND ANC FUNDRAISER?

Tsotsi struggled to explain why the utility paid for a seat at an ANC fundraising event to reach its customers.

He said the aim was to reach Eskom customers through the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) broadcast.

But Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo asked him if Eskom bought tickets for events of other political parties.

“Why can’t you reach your customers in another way without a political party?”

Tsotsi replied: “We do, and we did. But I think on this occasion I think the presence of the SABC was an advantage that we saw because we would ordinarily be charged by the SABC for them to give us a platform.”

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