/ 3 November 2016

#StateCaptureReport: Eskom’s chair stands with Molefe, hits out at public protector

Under then-Transnet chief executive Brian Molefe
Under then-Transnet chief executive Brian Molefe

Eskom’s chief executive has tearfully criticised the public protector during a press briefing held in Johannesburg on Thursday. During the briefing on Eskom’s interim results, Brian Molefe attempted to explain how the state-owned enterprise entered into contracts with the Gupta-owned Tegeta company. Eskom’s chairperson, Dr Ben Ngubane, also hit out at former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on state capture at the briefing.

The report on state capture was released on Wednesday after President Jacob Zuma withdrew a bid to halt the release of the investigation.

The report criticises Eskom, slamming the company over improper hiring of its board and also asking questions about its deals with Gupta-linked mining company Tegeta and the purchase of the Optimum mine.

In the report, Molefe was shown to have a particularly close relationship with the Guptas, as evidenced by his visits to their Saxonwold compound in Johannesburg and his numerous phone calls to Ajay Gupta.

But Ngubane slammed the report.

“She [Madonsela] did not call us in as a board. She committed to doing that but she never did,” said Ngubane.

“No one should be allowed to tear down this country on the basis of speculation,” he said.

Eskom is due to hold a further media briefing on the matter on Friday.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we will hear more about this tomorrow,” said Ngubane.

The report included a diagram showing a “distinct line of communication between Mr Molefe of Eskom‚ the Gupta family and directors of their companies in the form of Ms [Ronica] Ragavan and Mr Howa. These links cannot be ignored as Mr Molefe did not declare his relationship with the Gupta family.” Ragavan is a long-time Gupta associate who was recently appointed acting chief executive of Oakbay Investments, the family’s main holding company. – News24