POLITICS

Lynne Brown And Eskom's Board Will Now Have To Explain Their Molefe Decision To Parliament

The public enterprises committee has agreed to call them before the committee to account for the “Molefe fiasco as well as the disastrous state of Eskom”.

17/05/2017 13:39 SAST | Updated 17/05/2017 13:39 SAST
Danielle Karallis/Foto24/Gallo Images

Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown and the Eskom Board will be hauled in front of Parliament on Friday to explain the reappointment of controversial CEO, Brian Molefe.

In a statement by the Democratic Alliance, the party said the Acting Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Daphne Rantho, has agreed to their request that Brown and the Eskom board appear before the Committee to account for the "Molefe fiasco as well as the disastrous state of Eskom".

This is scheduled to take place on Friday this week.

DA spokesperson for Public Enterprises Natasha Mazzone said during the meeting the party would push for a "firm commitment" that a full-scale parliamentary inquiry be instituted urgently.

"We will directly request Minister Lynne Brown, and the Eskom Board to voluntarily submit to a full-scale Parliamentary inquiry, as it is the only mechanism that can truly hold Eskom to account and uncover how Brian Molefe came to be returned to Eskom," Mazzone said.

"The DA do not believe that Minister Brown or Eskom board chair Ben Ngubane can leave Parliament on Friday without agreeing to a such a full-scale investigation...The DA will also directly call on the ANC members of the committee to support us in this call."

Former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi's damning allegations against Molefe and Ngubane –- which claimed the pair had a role in the sale of Optimum Mines to the Guptas –- also led to an outcry from civil society organisations.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) said Ramatlhodi's "revelations" demonstrates how deep the "rot of corruption" has seeped into South African society.

"It shows the extent to which President Zuma, other ministers, officials in state-owned enterprises and their cronies in the Gupta family have indulged in an orgy of looting of public resources and self-enrichment though the manipulation of tenders in both the state and state-owner enterprises," the organisation's Patrick Craven said in a statement.

Saftu reiterated its demand for the removal of the entire Eskom Board.

Parmi Natesan, from the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA), said that a lack of transparency casts doubts on the good faith of an organisation's leadership —and raises questions about the long-term sustainability of the organisation.

"It is assumed that the board had a rational reason for accepting his [Molefe's] request for early retirement, and that it was in line with company policy, but in the absence of any explanation, this action would seem to confirm the public perception that [Molefe] is an individual who enjoys extraordinary rights," Natesan said.

"State-owned companies have a particularly strong need for transparency because the lines of accountability between board, shareholders and executives are somewhat less defined than in the private sector. The minister, as representative of the shareholder, has a far greater say over executive appointments than the board.

"Both the board and the minister have an obligation to act in the organisation's best interest. That also means they should offer the nation full accountability and transparency and disclosure on this reinstatement."