CAPE TOWN, Anoj Singh, the former chief financial offficer (CFO) of State-owned power utility Eskom, hasapologised to South Africans for having contributed to the current distressed financial state which Eskom now finds itself in.

Singh, who was appearing before a parliamentary inquiry into the affairs of Eskom here Tuesday, was asked by the parliamentary committee co-chairperson and African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament Mnganga Gcabashe to take responsibility and apologise.

Gcabashe, who was the second last member to question Singh, was not happy that most of Singh’s responses were contradictory. Singh apologised at the end of the proceedings, which lasted until the early hours of Wednesday morning.

In terms of an apology, Madam Chair and Honourable Members, to the extent that we have, or I have, in some way contributed to the downfall of Eskom, I do apologise sincerely, not only to the committee, but to the citizens of the country by and large,” Singh said.

“But I have tried to do my best in terms of being able to turn around and create an environment that is sustainable for Eskom into the future. If I failed, then I do apologise in failing in that duty.

Former finance minister and ANC MP Pravin Gordhan branded Singh as someone who is lying and misleading the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom about his relationship with the Guptas, an immigrant family from India, some of whose members are alleged to have exercised undue influence over top leaders in government.

Gordhan was not happy with the quality of answers and contradictory evidence given by Singh at the parliamentary inquiry.

Singh had denied that he was at the centre of the approval of a pre-payment of about 600 million Rand (about 50.44 million US dollars, at current exchange rates) made to Gupta-owned company Tegeta.

Gordhan also questioned Singh’s integrity. Is self-preservation trumping conscience and ethics? In other words, you have to survive at any cost, including lying, misleading. You know all of us are getting messages from people who are watching this. I will read you one which says: ‘Anoj is taking you guys for fools’. That’s the impression you are creating amongst the public, Gordhan added.

So you are actually saying to South Africans and your own family by the way that you will continue to stand here, continue to deny what you are really being guilty of, rather than own up and help the country cleanse itself.

Singh told the parliamentary inquiry that he initially offered to resign in September last year, but it was not accepted. Singh was asked by Gqabashe why he had tendered his resignation on Monday if he believes he is innocent.

In his response, Singh said: I was waiting for charges to be put. Charges were not put to me. I actually offered to resign in September. That was rejected by the company. I then said fine if you guys are investigating we are waiting for charges. No charges were forthcoming. I even requested the ex-chairman. And then government issues a statement to say, ‘Leave immediately’. So I left immediately.