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Eskom board may face chop over #BrianMolefe

Energy
Cape Town - The Eskom board could be dissolved by Parliament after MPs on Tuesday agreed to institute an inquiry into its conduct on the re-appointment of Brian Molefe.

The portfolio committee on public enterprises said it also wanted a full-scale inquiry to dig deeper into some of the decisions of Eskom, including its coal contracts with Tegeta.

Acting committee chairperson Zukiswa Rantho said Parliament wanted all the documents from Eskom within 14 days. Rantho said the inquiry would begin a few days after Eskom has submitted to the committee all the required information.

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Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who is now a member of the committee, also demanded that Eskom submit records and minutes of its decisions to help MPs to get to the bottom of some of the coal contracts with Tegeta and various other companies.

In a day filled with drama, ANC MP Mondli Gungubele also accused Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown of failing to exercise her oversight duties on Eskom.

Gungubele took issue when board chairperson Ben Ngubane boasted that the power utility had a strong balance sheet and fellow board member Zethembe Khoza charged that reappointed chief executive Brian Molefe did not resign but took early retirement.

“Both you (Khoza) and the chairperson don’t care about the effect of Brian Molefe on the credibility of Eskom,” Gungubele said. “All I hear from you chairperson, (is that) you are throwing in the numbers. You don’t care about the public as long as the balance sheet is [strong].”

Read also: Brown to abide by court's decision over #Molefe

Brown’s deputy Ben Martins said that he had raised the issue of an investigation into Eskom on Tegeta and other contracts with Brown. He said Brown had agreed that the investigation must be conducted urgently to lift the veil on the coal contracts. “We have a responsibility to the public to provide the necessary information,” said Martins.

Rantho said they were concerned about the state of governance at Eskom. She said they regarded the re-appointment of Molefe as illegal. An inquiry by Parliament would be able to lift the veil on corporate governance at Eskom. Ngubane said they would welcome any type of investigation into the power utility.

Khoza denied that he had personal relationships with Oakbay.

Brown said she would also launch her own investigation into procurement at Eskom. She said that she has called in the Special Investigating Unit to assist and that the terms of reference for the investigation had been drawn up. This was based on the advice she received that the re-appointment was legal.

This was the same position taken by Ngubane and other board members who defended Molefe’s re-appointment.

Brown said that the court would make a final determination at the end of May, when it hears the application brought by opposition parties, whether the reappointment was illegal or not.

BUSINESS REPORT

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