/ 14 November 2017

‘Eskom’s problem is Lynne Brown’

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has been accused of lying about corruption at Eskom.
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has been accused of lying about corruption at Eskom.

Eskom board spokesperson Khulani Qoma has blamed Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown for the corruption at Eskom. 

On Tuesday Qoma told Parliament’s public enterprises committee that he was shocked when Matshela Koko was appointed chief executive of Eskom.

He also said that Eskom’s acting chairperson, Zethembe Khoza, had said that Brown was “captured and reported to the Guptas”.

He said Khoza had told him the Guptas influenced the hiring and firing processes at the energy parastatal – they had stopped former Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane from suspending Koko as chief executive. Khoza had told a “G-brother” of the impending suspension and he had, in turn, contacted Brown, who stopped Koko’s suspension.

Qoma said Brown’s protection had also extended to Eskom’s chief financial officer, Anoj Singh. He added that both Singh and Koko had a history of reporting to the Guptas.

“The minister will never be able to explain why she is in the midst of water and she is not wet,” he said at the parliamentary inquiry.

READ MORE: Exposed — Lynne Brown’s lover secured a declaration of business from Eskom

“She lies and she lies. She thinks we can’t see these things,” Qoma said. “The fact of the matter is that if we deal with the respect of office, this minister needs to sit here and account. She is totally incompetent.”

He said Brown had lied about her relationship with Trillian, formerly owned by Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa, because she had been embarrassed by media reports. According to Qoma, she did nothing about Trillian’s dubious dealings with Eskom. Instead, Brown put “her head down and hoped everyone would forget”.

Qoma said he had written a scathing report in June to the Eskom board in which he accused the board of burying evidence against compromised senior executives such as former chief executive Brian Molefe and Singh. 

Qoma also accused the board of ignoring mismanagement at the expense of the utility.

His report stated that Eskom’s corporate arrogance was “costing South Africa” and he warned that Molefe and Koko should not be allowed near the energy utility.

He said that Molefe’s return to Eskom in early January was “devastating” for the power utility because “it tainted the image of Eskom”.

READ MORE: Former Eskom CEO breaks down ‘culture of maintenance deferral’

Qoma also informed the board that Koko had lied about the Gupta-linked Tegeta deal in a Carte Blanche interview with journalist Devi Sankaree Govender. Koko denied that Eskom had prepaid R586-million to the majority Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration.

READ MORE: ‘How Eskom paid Tegeta to go treasure hunting for coal’

Qoma told the parliamentary committee that his revelations in his report to the board had caused him to almost lose his job. – News24