Parly committee recommends Eskom, Transnet executives testify before Zondo commission

Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises has adopted its final report into allegations of state capture at Eskom and Transnet, which recommends that some of power utility’s former board chairs and top executives be requested to appear before the ongoing judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.

The report refers to “undue influence” of private individuals over the board.

It recommends that former Eskom board chairs Zola Tsotsi, Ben Ngubane, former acting group chief executive Matshela Koko, former interim board chair Zethembe Khoza, former CEO Brian Molefe, former CFO Anoj Singh, former acting CEO Sean Maritz and former board members Pat Naidoo and Devapushpum Naidoo be requested to be appear before the commission, which is probing allegations of state capture.

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It had also recommended that the Speaker of the National Assembly Speaker take action against Dudu Myeni, Duduzane Zuma, Rajesh Gupta, Atul Gupta and Ajay Gupta for failing to present themselves to the inquiry upon request.

It wants the commission, chaired by Judge Raymond Zondo, to summon these individuals to give evidence. 

The report was well over a year in the making and is chiefly based on evidence presented during the committee’s inquiry last year.

While it is not accusatory in nature, it recommends that those who are implicated in governance failures at public entities present their versions at the commission.

A preliminary version of the report, which leaked to the media earlier this year, had shown how entities such as Eskom and Transnet were targeted by private individuals played in an effort to influence the awarding of lucrative state contracts.

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The final report confirms that “undue influence” of private individuals over the Eskom board may have led to contraventions of the Eskom Conversion Act, the Public Finance Management Act, internal and external governance requirements and a host of other laws and governance policies.

The report said the reappointment of Brian Molefe at Eskom, and the reappointment of Matshela Koko as group chief executive officers in the face of prima facie evidence of wrongdoing were never satisfactorily explained, and not reasonable.

The final report also highlighted the relationship between Eskom and The New Age newspaper between 2010 and 2014 as well as the agreement between the two to organise business breakfast gatherings for broadcasting purposes. It reaffirms that Eskom paid R43-million to sponsor the broadcasting of the breakfasts.

It also raises a series of payments to companies McKinsey, Regiments and Trillian that were found to be irregular, unauthorised and involve potential corruption.

Committee chair Lungi Mnganga-Gcabashe said the committee did well to have the report adopted on schedule.

“It has been a long road to travel, but we are happy to adopt it before Parliament rises. It will then have to get into the parliamentary system and it will be out of our hands,” said Mnganga-Gcabashe.

Mnganga-Gcabashe said, save for some minor corrections to elements like the terms of reference, the report was to be considered as the final report.

Committee member for the ANC Zukiswa Rantho said she was comfortable adopting the report in its current form.

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“The report was distributed among members on Monday. It is still the same report as before. We went through the inquiry under the terms of reference including the fact that it is an inquisitorial inquiry. We don’t need to charge anyone. We are going to look at our observations and recommendations,” said Rantho.

Committee member for the Democratic Alliance Natasha Mazzone said she identified with the recommendation that the report be referred from Parliament to the commission of inquiry into state capture.“

“This is a report that the committee can be proud of. The manner in which this was done is indicative of the fact that we are not doing things behind closed doors. This is not a report with which we chose to charge any individuals and I would propose that we formally submit the report to the Zondo Commission,” said Mazzone. — Fin 24

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Khulekani Magubane
Khulekani Magubane

Khulekani Magubane is a senior financial reporter for Fin24. 

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