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Eskom State Capture “Whistleblower” An Opportunist Who Tried To Save Herself – Adv Cassim

By Pinky Khoabane

Phakamani Hadebe, Eskom CEO – New Eskom Management accepted recommendations by Adv Cassim to summarily dismiss Daniels

SUZANNE DANIELS, former Eskom head of legal services and compliance and the so-called whistle blower at Parliament’s Eskom State Capture hearing last year, was fired last week following an internal disciplinary hearing headed by an independent chairperson, which found she played a role in the “capture”.

A cyber forensic investigation into emails of various former Eskom executives including former executive Matshela Koko, downloaded from Eskom’s server, pointed to Daniels’s hand in assisting in the parastatal’s state capture scandals. The power utility accused her of having secretly sent commercially sensitive information to an email belonging to Salim Essa, dubbed the “Gupta Kingpin” by the media. She was also accused of being at the centre of the McKinsey/Trilian R1.6bn saga and the R659million upfront payment to the Gupta family’s Tegeta which bought the Optimum mine. There were also claims she approved payments to a legal firm for services rendered to former SABC board chairperson on matters which had nothing to do with Eskom.

Advocate Nazir Cassim, who headed the hearing, found there was enough collusion on Daniels’s part to warrant a summary dismissal. He found she had “committed serious misconduct and also breached her duty of good faith and a duty of trust and confidence to Eskom”.

The advocate found she was not a trustworthy witness and had not made full disclosure of her role in the transactions which were being investigated and had not provided any new material to the enquiry. Interviewed by Chris Barron in the Sunday Times, an interview which was clearly sympathetic to Daniels, Cassim said there was nothing key in her disclosure.

Barron: She blew the whistle on the perpetrators didn’t she?

Cassim: I found it too little too late. That which she blew was already in the public domain. It was in the public protector’s report. It wasn’t new.

Barron: “You’re saying her evidence was of no importance?

Cassim: It wasnt key at all. Investigative journalists had already given much greater insight and depth into matters she already knew about.

Barron: Surely the fact that her evidence was first-hand made it important?

Cassim: Not at all because it’s all documented. The corruption is so blatant. The whole board is involved. She’s involved. And obviously when the writing was on the wall she said: “No no let me make disclosures”. It was too little too late.

Barron: Rather late than not surely? 

Cassim: That’s the problem with this country. Everybody when you’re caught out wants to make disclosures but the damage is done….

Barron: Doesn’t that send a message to would-be whistleblowers that unless you’re clean don’t blow the whistle on others?

Cassim: No the message is that as a senior executive when you see something is going wrong, and you’re too scared to blow the whistle, at least don’t participate in that wrong act and then come and say: “I now want to come clean”. You can’t be opportunistic and take credit simply to advance your interests.

Barron: What are those?

Cassim: To save herself

Barron: If she didn’t have assurances, why would she assume she was saving herself if she came forward?

Cassim: She was trying to promote her own interests when she came clean. She realised there was now exposure in the press that these people were looting Eskom, that she was in the centre of it and now she’s in trouble. Everybody who is in trouble is now blaming somebody else. That is opportunistic. It’s not genuinely coming forward.

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2 Comments

  1. What kind of biased interviewing is this? The interviewer clearly wanted to clear Ms Daniels here but i am not suprised by the lamestream media anymore. I fail to understand why this lady is not being “exposed” like others who might or might not be part of that so-called capture.

    1. Vele, Chris Barron is at pains to try and project Suzanne Daniels as a whistleblower but he’s not alone. She was hailed as having exposed the Gupta State Capture but as the good advocate says, she said everything that was already in the public space and reserved her role for only when she was found-out. If it were not for the cyber forensic investigation, everybody would have thought she was a true whistleblower – her name would have gone down as the good executive who exposed corruption.

      We published an earlier story about the lies she told – that dep minister of public enterprises was at a meeting with the Guptas on the same day the ANC had a Lekgotla and he had alibis that he attended the meeting the entire day.

      It was discovered she had withheld information about Brian Molefe’s contract to the minister and to the board and lied about the length of term of office when it wasnt approved by the Minister Browne at the time. This is the lie that created the entire issue about the pension. I dont exonerate the board though – this saga showed again how Boards dont do their oversight role but are political appointees who sing to the tune of the bosses in charge at the time.

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