A shocking story emerged in parliament this week at the inquiry into Eskom – delivered by the parastatal’s suspended head of legal services, Suzanne Daniels.
She said she was invited to a meeting by businessperson Salim Essa, a known associate of the Gupta family, on July 29.
Present at the meeting was Ajay Gupta and Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins.
Daniels said Gupta told her that he would put pressure on the judge president’s office to ensure the court case on former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe’s pension payout would be held over until after the ANC’s elective conference in December.
Daniels told the parliamentary committee: “After that day, I am very convinced state capture is real.” Martins was quick to deny the meeting even took place, claiming he had only met Daniels to discuss her poor performance.
He then dismissed her evidence as her seeking to use the occasion to “reinvent herself as a clueless ignoramus”.
The strange – and illogical – choice of smear rhetoric by Martins shows an attempt to discredit Daniels, as many in President Jacob Zuma’s camp have done before to critics and opponents.
Significantly, the statement from Martins was tweeted by Matshela Koko, another one of the Zupta choirboys.
The allegations made by Daniels cannot simply be dismissed in the arrogant way all the rest related to state capture have been by those accused of involvement.
These have to be investigated – and investigated as soon as possible – by an organisation which is not captured by Zuma and his cronies.
But we hold out little hope of that actually happening. Daniels told the court she was so shocked by what happened at the meeting that she went home, had a stiff whisky and went to bed.
If only the whole country could do that – and wake up in the morning to an honest government.