Parly probe into Eskom to put spotlight on Molefe, maladministration

A Parliamentary inquiry into the maladministration, governance problems and procurement issues at Eskom will officially commence in the first week of August 2017, when the legislature resumes its activities for the third quarter.

The portfolio committee on public enterprises on Wednesday adopted the terms of reference of the inquiry, which will among other things investigate the pension payout of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and his subsequent reappointment, the coal contracts the power utility entered into and the way Eskom appoints and remunerates board members and executive management.

Zukiswa Rantho (ANC), acting chairperson of the portfolio committee on public enterprises, said during deliberations that although Molefe has been removed from his position and Ben Ngubane has since resigned as Eskom board chairperson, these issues will nevertheless be probed by Parliament.

“Brian Molefe left after the (former) Public Protector’s release of the state capture report. He then joined Parliament as an MP and then rejoined Eskom as CEO. These issues are unexplained,” she said, adding that there are also issues with the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund that “remain a mystery” and need clarification.

“We need this inquiry (into Molefe), regardless of who wants it or not,” Rantho said.

Democratic Alliance spokesperson on public enterprises Natasha Mazzone said although she agreed with the terms of reference for the investigation, it must include former acting CEO Matshela Koko’s nepotism allegations.

The Sunday Times earlier reported that Koko’s stepdaughter netted at least R1-billion in contracts awarded to her company, Impulse International.

“We also need the original reports done by Dentons (into irregularities at Eskom) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (into the coal procurement contracts) – the unsanitised versions.”

Mazzone said there had been allegations that Ngubane, while still chairperson at the board, removed some of the names and companies mentioned in the Dentons report and represented a sanitised version of the document.

Narend Singh from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said the investigation is bound to be broad. “It has been somewhat overtaken by recent events (such as the removal of Molefe and the resignation of Ngubane), but these things are still relevant, as we don’t want the same thing to happen at other state-owned enterprises.”

Matters to be looked into
The official terms of reference adopted by Parliament include:

  • The Eskom board’s ability to look into the financial status and governance problems at Eskom, specifically with regard to its response to the ‘State of Capture’ report, the determination of Molefe’s retirement package and the decision to reappoint him. 
  • The findings should address matters, such as the fiscal sustainability at Eskom, remuneration levels of its executives and board members and the appointment of such officials.

READ MORE: The battle for control of SA’s state isn’t just about figureheads

Witnesses
The committee also agreed on a list of potential witnesses which will be called to make representations and/or testify during the investigation process. They include Molefe, Ngubane, former Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona, former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi, former executive for group capital Dan Marokane and current chief financial officer Anoj Singh.

Mazzone said the list should include President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane and the Gupta family.

Rantho said the inquiry will extend to the leaked Gupta emails which allegedly implicate a number of state officials, including Eskom executives. – Fin24

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Liesl Peyper
Liesl Peyper works from Cape Town, South Africa. Financial journalist at Rapport Liesl Peyper has over 610 followers on Twitter.

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