Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. Picture: THE TIMES
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. Picture: THE TIMES

In addition to the investigations being conducted by the Hawks into allegations of maladministration and corruption at Eskom, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has instituted two other probes.

This emerged at the Power-Gen and Distributech Africa 2017 conference in Sandton on Tuesday, when the minister addressed delegates.

Brown said she had asked the Special Investigating Unit to look into all allegations of impropriety against Eskom over the past 10 years and had asked the newly appointed board of directors to conduct short-term investigations and report back.

She also intended to conduct investigations into the other public enterprises managed by her department.

Eskom has been hit by damaging scandals in the past year, including the generous pension package awarded to former CEO Brian Molefe after only one year, allegations that interim CEO Matshela Koko favoured a family member in granting contracts, and details of special treatment given to the Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources on coal contracts.

Brown said none of the allegations against Eskom had been proven in court but they would damage its integrity and that of the government until dealt with by law enforcement agencies.

State-owned entities had a role to play in transforming the economy, she said.

Eskom was one of SA’s biggest employers and also generated hundreds of thousands of jobs indirectly.

Brown said SA was in the throes of an important discussion on economic transformation. The country still suffered from chronic poverty and rampant unemployment.

Despite the creation of a middle class and "BEE-llionaires", affirmative action and black empowerment policies had failed to narrow inequality.

"That is why although we may not all agree on the precise means and terminology, there is general agreement on the need to accelerate transformation," Brown said.

The Department of Energy would shortly publish a new Integrated Resource Plan to move the country’s energy generation away from dependency on coal to a diversified mix.

This transition would not be simple as the country had to reduce carbon emissions for long-term benefit without a net loss of jobs in the short term.

Doing so would require localisation of new industries and labour reskilling, she said.

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