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Brown calls for Eskom to bring Dentons report before MPs

Politics
Parliament – Eskom should be called before Parliament to brief MPs on the Dentons report, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said on Wednesday.

"Eskom should come and run you through the report," the minister told the portfolio committee on public enterprises after she was asked for her view on the entity's failure to release the full report.

Brown suggested, however, that the problems identified in the study commissioned in 2015, when Eskom was in deep crisis, had been resolved by the following year. The period investigated by the international law firm spanned three years prior to 2015 and problems were flagged in engineering, finance and procurement.

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Public Enterprise Minister Lynne Brown

By March 2016, 27 problems picked up by Dentons had been confirmed, analysed and "fixed" by Eskom.

According to the report, of which Eskom released a redacted version to people who had applied under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, there were serious concerns about the manner in which Eskom awarded coal and diesel contracts.

Brown was also asked by opposition MPs for her views on the State of Capture report by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela who focused on Eskom's coal contract with the Gupta-owned firm Tegeta.

She said it was her opinion that a commission of inquiry should be appointed, as Madonsela had recommended, to further investigate indications that Eskom went out of its way to benefit Tegeta.

"It is the president's prerogative, but it remains my view that there should be a commission," she said, adding that it was "the only way" to deal conclusively with claims that state entities were deliberately used to further private business interests.

Madonsela also fingered the Eskom board in her damning 355-page report, implicating it in machinations to favour Tegeta. She found that the board failed in its duty to place the national interest first when Eskom prejudiced Glencore in order to benefit Tegeta.

Brown was mentioned in Madonsela's report as she is the minister responsible for appointing the board.

She said she had acted on Madonsela's findings by approaching board members and four have since quit after she gave them an ultimatum to relinquish their other interests or resign.

"When the 'state capture' report came out, I wrote to all board members and asked if they had any conflict of interest. We have had four people who resigned from Eskom" as a result, she said.

After the State of Capture report was released late last year, Brown had defended the Tegeta contract, saying she had asked Eskom for a full account of how it awarded the deal to the company and her legal team could find no fault with the process.

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