05/10/2017 07:25 SAST | Updated 05/10/2017 07:25 SAST

Brown: I Cannot Know Who Board Members' Friends Are

Lynne Brown says that the new Eskom board members will be vetted, but she cannot tell who their friends are.

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.
PHILL MAGAKOE via Getty Images
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has told Parliament that, while members of the new Eskom board are being vetted, she was not able to guarantee the board's independence because she couldn't determine who their friends were, Eyewitness News reported.

Brown appeared before Parliament's portfolio committee on public enterprises on Wednesday. She reportedly said she wanted all disciplinary procedures against Eskom officials as well as the appointment of a permanent board at Eskom to be finalised by next month.

Eskom's final report into its relationship with Gupta-linked consultancy firm Trillian had been handed to her, Brown reportedly said.

According to TimesLive, Brown said the Special Investigating Unit had agreed to expedite the McKinsey/Trillian aspect of its investigation into Eskom.

Eskom's own report, seen by EWN, reportedly reveals how far Eskom executives went to make sure Trillian was paid millions, in spite of allegations that the firm acted as a gatekeeper for other firms and did little or no work itself.

Brown reportedly said that, while she could determine which companies members of the permanent board were in, and whether they were qualified, she could not know who their friends were.

Brown reportedly said that those implicated in state capture were innocent until proven guilty, but former finance minister Pravin Gordhan questioned when those implicated were likely to be charged.

According to TimesLive, Gordhan, in his capacity as MP, said: "In a context where we have state capture pervading state-owned enterprises, other institutions and law enforcement agencies as well, by implication, how are we going to get to a position where those who are truly guilty of things are actually going to be charged so that we can actually say innocent until proven guilty?"