Pravin Gordhan. Picture: REUTERS
ask treasury - Pravin Gordhan. Picture: REUTERS

Eskom’s former board chairman‚ Ben Ngubane‚ says the State of Capture report produced by advocate Thuli Madonsela was a hatchet job "funded" by former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

Ngubane‚ who abruptly resigned as chairman earlier this week‚ was scathing in his criticism of the report during an interview he granted to Gupta-owned television news channel ANN7 on Tuesday.

"Pravin Gordhan paid Thuli Madonsela five million to fast track the release of the public protector's report on state capture‚” he claimed.

Madonsela's report brought into sharp focus the relationship between former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and the Gupta family. It revealed that he and Ajay Gupta had 58 telephone conversations between August 2015 and March 2016.

Ngubane‚ in the television interview‚ accused Gordhan of giving the former public protector additional funding to "hurry up" the state of capture report which he described as a "hatchet job".

“Pravin Gordhan‚ when he was minister of finance‚ gave funding to the Public Protector to hurry up the state capture report. it was in the dying days of Thuli Madonsela’s contract as a public protector. That is why we were not even given a chance or a hearing. Our documents we submitted were never studied. That’s why the report was hastily produced‚ without findings‚ mind you‚ but only remedial action requiring a judicial commission‚” said Ngubane.

He said the report needed to be reviewed.

Gordhan‚ he added‚ needed to explain why he "gave money to hurry up the state of capture report" which he described as inadequate‚ unfair and had left Molefe "absolutely demoralised".

Gordhan told TimesLIVE on Wednesday: "That happened when I was a minister‚ which I’m not anymore. Speak to Treasury on this.”

TimesLIVE contacted Treasury's Mayihlome Tshwete for comment‚ but no response had been received by the time of publication.

Madonsela shot down the claims made by Ngubane. She told TimesLIVE that he was “not telling the truth”. Her request for additional funding‚ at the time‚ had been made openly to government‚ she said.

“The nation was advised about my intention to make the request‚ through the media before I wrote to government making the request."

The office of the public protector had asked for R3-million but ultimately received R1.5-million which‚ she said‚ was "too little‚ too late".

Madonsela told Parliament in 2014 that that the office of the public protector was “technically insolvent and it could struggle to continue with its operations in the next three years if its budget is not increased”.

In early 2016 she told Parliament's justice portfolio committee about budget constraints resulting in an inability to finalise investigations with the required speed and within set turnaround times.

Asked about the reasons for his resignation from the board of Eskom‚ Ngubane told ANN7: “I decided‚ wisely I think‚ that I should seize the opportunity and tender my resignation so I can get into private business as quickly as possible.”

He stepped down‚ aware of the controversy at the power utility. After careful consideration he decided‚ “I’ve done my bit‚ let me look after myself.”

TimesLIVE


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