Former Eskom chair Ben Ngubane wanted critical media blacklisted
Former Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane tried to blacklist newspapers that published stories revealing looting and other damning allegations against the power utility.
The details of the attempted blacklisting are contained in a draft forensic report commissioned by the national treasury — which the Mail & Guardian has seen — and conducted by Fundudzi Forensic Services which was tasked with investigating various allegations at both Eskom and state logistics firm, Transnet.
The report reveals that Ngubane wrote a letter to former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown titled “Suspension of contact in any form whatsoever and/or commercial relationship with the Mail and Guardian, City Press and the Sunday Times”.
At the time of the letter being written, which is dated September 30 2015, the above-mentioned publications were reporting on the special treatment Gupta-owned mines were allegedly receiving from the state-owned entity.
In his correspondence, Ngubane told Brown that Eskom had resolved to “suspend any dealing” with the newspapers and would not place any advertisements or have any “commercial relationship” with them.
The forensic report illustrated the extent of the Gupta family’s network, the looting of parastatals and the flouting of procurement procedures.
Some of the allegations contained in the report include how former Transnet and Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh enjoyed overseas trips arranged by consulting firm McKinsey, which scored multi-billion rand contracts at the state enterprises.
The report also implicates other senior executives — including former executive for generation Matshela Koko and former acting head for fuel sourcing Ayanda Nteta — of allegedly working overtime and using underhanded tactics to benefit the politically connected Gupta family.