Former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni says she is being labelled a criminal because of her association with former president Jacob Zuma and his foundation.
Myeni appeared at the inquiry on Tuesday afternoon and began testifying after a few minutes of interruptions.
Myeni was scheduled to appear on Tuesday morning, but she failed to do so. Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo instructed that a criminal complaint be laid against her and she was rescheduled for later in the day.
When Myeni finally took the stand, she apologised for the miscommunication and for not appearing in the morning.
Myeni later insisted that she would only give her evidence in isiZulu and explained how she was the victim of a smear campaign that labelled her as a criminal. She said every board she chaired was labelled as disastrous.
The former board chairperson said she believes she was being targeted because of her links to Zuma and his foundation and because she was a black woman.
She said she had not stolen anything from the government.
“My sin is my association with the Jacob Zuma Foundation and exposing those who should not be “touched”. I grew up being told by my father that being black makes me a suspect,” Myeni said.
Myeni agreed to switch to speaking English as an interpreter had not been arranged for her session.
Her evidence focused on two meetings which former Eskom board chairperson Zola Tsotsi alleges were arranged by Myeni. The two meetings took place on March 6 and 8, 2015.
Tsotsi testified last year that Myeni presented a plan to institute an inquiry into Eskom and to suspend three Eskom executives.
Tsotsi said he was called by Myeni on March 7, 2015, that he needed to attend a meeting at former president Jacob Zuma’s residence in Durban on March 8.
Tsotsi explained that later on, Zuma entered the meeting and enquired in isiZulu “what was up for discussion”.
The former board chairperson said Myeni then explained to Zuma that they were discussing Eskom’s poor performance.
Tsotsi said Zuma then told him that he needed to go and test out the proposals to Eskom’s board.
Myeni admitted to the meetings with Tsotsi and Zuma, but she denied the rest of Tsotsi’s evidence. She said Zuma had never instructed her to do anything unlawful.
Myeni said Tsotsi was the one who had insisted on a meeting with Zuma and she was simply helping him by arranging the meeting.
She denied interfering in dealings at Eskom and also denied Zuma’s interference or involvement.
“I was never in any board of Eskom, I had no interest at Eskom and the person who had issues at Eskom was Mr Tsotsi.
“I said I can assist. The meetings took place but at Tsotsi’s behest. I had too many problems and responsibilities at SAA to pay attention to issues at Eskom,” Myeni said.