Sub judice rule gets Lynne Brown off the hook — for now
Public enterprises minister must appear in court to account for the shock reappointment of Brian Molefe
The "sub judice" rule has come to Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown’s rescue, excusing her from appearing before Parliament’s public enterprises committee on Friday to explain the reappointment of Eskom CEO Brian Molefe.
The committee decided on Wednesday that it would call Brown and members of the Eskom board to a meeting on Friday to account for the shock appointment after allegations of corruption were made against Molefe in the State of Capture report of former public protector Thuli Madonsela.
However, acting committee chairwoman Zukiswa Rantho said in a statement later that the committee had been informed that Brown would have to appear in court on the matter.
The DA has applied for an urgent interdict from the High Court in Pretoria both against Molefe taking up the position as well as for a review and setting aside of his reappointment.
"We are unable to discuss the matter as it is sub judice and, as the committee, we are unable to do proper oversight as planned," Rantho said.
She added that the committee was disappointed about Molefe’s appointment.
It was not clear whether Brown relied on the sub judice rule to excuse herself from the committee meeting.
The minister also had to confront ANC leaders on Monday to justify her approval of Molefe’s reappointment.
"As the oversight body to the department and the power utility, the committee wanted the minister and Eskom executives and board to appear before the committee so that we would be able to listen and hear what is happening from all affected parties," Rantho said.
The committee was briefed by director-general of the Department of Public Enterprises Mogokare Seleke, who reported that Transnet and Eskom had secured the commitment of billions of rand in the local economy through supplier development programmes. The programmes involve the localisation of suppliers, skills and small business development and investment in plant.
Seleke said that since the inception of the programme, a total of R30.8bn had been committed to local content by Transnet’s suppliers. A total of R116.9bn had been committed to localisation in the Eskom supplier development programme.
Both Transnet and Eskom are making major investments in infrastructure.