Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown intends to arrange a special general meeting of Eskom in November to appoint a permanent board.

The new board’s first mandate will include the appointment of a permanent group CE and restoring the credibility of its operations, the minister told members of Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises.

"In the meantime, I have asked Mr Khoza (interim Eskom chairman Zethemba Khoza) to ensure that all internal disciplinary procedures relating to allegations of wrongful conduct at the utility are concluded prior to the special general meeting," Brown said.

Eskom, she said, had to get new executives and strengthen its disclosure system to prevent executives and other staff and their families from doing business with the company.

"I would like to think that structures can be put in place to avoid a repetition of the ease with which Eskom appears to have been able to lie to its shareholder in respect of its dealings with McKinsey and Trillian.

"I regard Eskom’s lies as an assault on our democratic system of governance," the minister said.

I would like to think that structures can be put in place to avoid a repetition of the ease with which Eskom appears to have been able to lie … [about] McKinsey and Trillian

Brown said she had asked Eskom why the response provided to her on the McKinsey/Trillian matter differed from its recent responses.

She received a report from the board on this matter Tuesday night. "I will read through it and ask the department’s legal and governance unit for its considered recommendations."

She said the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) had agreed on the terms of reference for an investigation of Eskom’s governance and procurement, and to expedite the McKinsey/Trillian aspect of the investigation.

The proposed terms of reference will now be sent to the Presidency for approval and the issuing of a proclamation.

"The biggest remaining challenge is lack of adherence to proper governance and I intend to address the collapse in governance and internal controls before the end of the financial year, including the SIU investigation.

"This SIU investigation is critical to restore public and investor confidence in Eskom and its procurement processes," Brown said.

The advertising process for new board members of state-owned companies had closed on September 8 and the candidates were undergoing a vetting process by an external company.

After this the selected candidates would be submitted to the Cabinet.

Brown noted that the declaration of interests by board members was now required every six months instead of annually, and a rotation of board members took place every year instead of every three years.

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