He was accounting for his time as public enterprise minister between 2009 and 2014 at the Eskom inquiry on Tuesday.
“It has been disheartening and shocking for me to witness some of the appointments that I made years ago, and which were hailed publicly as positive appointments for government, now being impugned,” he said of the allegations.
“I take seriously the task of assisting this committee in uncovering the extent of corruption that appears to have transpired.”
Gigaba spoke on the testimony presented by Dames last year, in which he was implicated.
Among issues raised was Dames’ resignation from Eskom.
“Let me say at the outset, so there is no uncertainty about my position, that when Brian resigned from his position at Eskom, it was a loss to the company.” Gigaba said that he still has the “highest regard” for Dames.
“Brian submitted two resignations to the board. When he initially wanted to leave Eskom, I convinced him to stay on. I was not in favour of Brian’s exit from Eskom because of his capability, integrity and strong leadership which brought stability, and instilled confidence among Eskom’s stakeholders” said Gigaba.
“I thought it was important for him to stay. I recall having told them that Eskom could not afford to lose Brian at that time because of the massive build programs that Eskom was involved in, and because they needed to raise capital in respect of those build projects.
“It was a critical time for Eskom and Brian was necessary to maintain company stability during that period,” said Gigaba.
He recalled there being tensions between Dames and some board members. Gigaba said he made and effort to call former chair Zola Tsotsi to tell him “Brian is not going anywhere.”
Gigaba said that Dames tendered his second resignation in 2013 when it appeared tensions between him and Tsotsi could not be resolved. “At that stage, the board accepted his resignation and I urged them to focus on transitional arrangements.
“I speak sincerely when I say that I endeavored to the best of my ability to ensure Brian remained as Eskom, and it was unfortunate to have lost his services.”
Gigaba also spoke on issues with the Eskom board, which Dames brought up in his testimony.
Gigaba said he was of the view required a rotation, some members had been serving for as long as nine years.
Further to Dames’ testimony about a meeting arranged by Gigaba’s adviser Siyabonga Mahlangu with the Gupta brothers, Gigaba said he knew nothing about the meeting.
“I can also tell you that Brian did not call me about this meeting either before it happened or afterwards. The first time I heard of this meeting was following Mr. Dames’ testimony to this inquiry.
“If anything about the meeting made Mr. Dames uncomfortable, I’d go as far as to say that he should have called me about this. We had a good working relationship, and we communicated often.