Minister insists she did not lie to Parliament about Eskom
Cape Town — Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown insists she die not lie to Parliament after the ANC said her submission to the legislature on the re-appointment of Eskom CEO Brian Molefe amounted to perjury.
On Tuesday, Brown said she was ready to defend her stance on Molefe to the ANC. She announced that she’s instituted her own forensic probe into allegations of corruption at Eskom‚ which would be headed by a retired judge and would probe transactions and agreements going back 10 years.
It also emerged that trade union Solidarity has claimed in court papers that Eskom chairman Ben Ngubane had written to Brown seeking guidance on the terms of Molefe’s departure from Eskom. Solidarity has joined the DA in asking the court to review and set aside Eskom’s decision to bring Molefe back as CEO.
The ANC issued a hard-hitting statement against Brown and the Eskom board of directors on Tuesday‚ after they told Parliament that Molefe had not resigned but had been on unpaid leave when he took up the position of ANC MP.
The Eskom board earlier said Molefe had resigned, before changing its tune‚ saying he had retired.
Speaking to journalists ahead of her departmental budget vote debate on Thursday‚ Brown said she told no lies at a heated meeting with the portfolio committee on public enterprises on Tuesday. "I remain a member of the ANC whether they have issued 5‚000 statements. I am a deployee of the ANC‚ I subject myself to the wisdom of the party leadership ... If the leadership says I should come and so on‚ will have to defend myself there … I don’t think I have lied to Parliament‚ I am not lying to Parliament, so I don’t know what more do you want."
Molefe and Ngubane were conspicuous by their absence at the media briefing. Brown was joined by CEOs and chairmans of key state-owned enterprises under her portfolio, such as Transnet‚ Safcol‚ Alexkor and Denel, as is tradition with budget votes.
Molefe was seen in the corridors of Parliament as early as Wednesday. "We invited everyone. I don’t [know] why they are not here‚" said Brown.
Brown said the Special Investigating Unit will be involved in her ministry’s investigation into Eskom’s transactions and will conduct forensic work on the seven investigative reports already undertaken by leading auditing and legal firms such as PwC and Dentons.
Brown’s probe will run parallel to an inquiry that her parliamentary oversight committee agreed to conduct on Tuesday. She said her new probe is not a bureaucratic attempt to delay uncovering "malfeasance at Eskom". "I’m not doing a doubling-up of the state-capture investigation‚ this will be a much broader investigation. I want the whole procurement issue to be investigated. I actually want a credible transparent process."