When Mosilo Mothepu was appointed CEO of Trillian Financial Advisory, a subsidiary of Gupta-linked Trillian Capital Partners, in March 2016, the prospect of being at the helm of a black-owned financial consultancy was electrifying for a black woman whose twin passions were transformation and empowering women. Three months later, suffering from depression and insomnia, she resigned with no other job lined up.
In October 2016, a written statement handed to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela detailing Trillian’s involvement in state capture was leaked to the media. Key to the disclosures were the removals of finance ministers Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan from their posts due to the Guptas’ influence. Although she was not identified by name as the source of the affidavit, details of the revelations published in the Sunday Times left no doubt in the minds of Trillian’s executives: Mothepu was the Nenegate whistleblower.
Despite fearing legal consequences, Mothepu had decided that she could not just stand by as the country burnt. Her disclosures resulted in the freezing of Trillian-associated company Regiments Capital’s assets and a High Court order for Trillian to pay back almost R600 million to Eskom. Facing criminal charges and bankruptcy, unemployed and deemed a political risk, Mothepu experienced first-hand the loneliness of whistleblowing.
The effect on her mental and physical health was devastating. Now, in Uncaptured, she recounts this troubling yet seminal chapter in her life with honesty, humility and wry humour in the hope that others who find themselves in a similar situation will follow in her footsteps and speak truth to power.