NEWS

From The SABC To Eskom, Here Are 5 Things That Haunt Ben Ngubane's Career

Controversy has haunted his whole career.

13/06/2017 13:48 SAST | Updated 13/06/2017 13:48 SAST
Esa Alexander/Sowetan/Gallo Images

From the SABC to Eskom, Ben Ngubane's tenure at South African state-owned entities has not been without controversy.

Ngubane resigned as Eskom's board chairperson and non-executive director on Monday with immediate effect, announced Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.

He left under a cloud of controversy, ahead of a parliamentary inquiry which seeks to investigate damning revelations of the capture of the parastatal's leadership by the Guptas and a breakdown in its corporate governance.

Ngubane has been under the spotlight since former public protector Thuli Madonsela's state capture report implicated him in alleged improper dealings. Ngubane has also been mentioned twice in the Gupta email leaks saga.

Read: Gupta Emails: Gupta Associates Drafted Ngubane Statement

But controversy has followed him since he headed the board at the SABC between 2009 and 2013.

Here are just some of the allegations that haunt Ngubane's tenure:

  1. In 2010, it was reported that around a dozen SABC board members said Ngubane's unilateral decision as board chairperson to appoint Phil Molefe as head of news was unlawful. Disputes between Ngubane and his board continued for years and Ngubane was said to be behind the rise of Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the problems at the broadcaster. In February 2013, the board announced Motsoeneng was "released from his duties", but Ngubane came out shortly after saying he had been reinstated. This was done without the board's consent.
  2. Former public protector Thuli Madonsela's state capture report showed Ngubane as a director of Gade Oil & Gas, which is linked to Gupta-associate, Salim Essa. Ngubane had not made this position public and it was said to be a conflict of interest.
  3. It was reported that in 2013, a failed bid to secure a lucrative oil concession in the Central African Republic (CAR) tied Gade Oil & Gas, where Ngubane was a director, to talks involving the payment of "behind the scenes incentives" to government officials in that country.
  4. Earlier this year, former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi claimed Ngubane, in his role as the Eskom board chairman, and Brian Molefe, then Eskom CEO, attempted to bully him into blackmailing resources giant Glencore, to ensure a Gupta-owned company could take control of their mine.
  5. The latest leak of emails from within the Gupta network showed an email from Gupta-owned Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa, which allegedly had an attached copy of one of Ngubane's speeches in 2015. The email was reportedly sent to Essa for his approval.

Brown decided to appoint Zethembe Khoza as interim Eskom board chairperson until new board appointments were taken to Cabinet for approval.