Eskom report to determine Minister’s actions

Eskom report to determine Minister’s actions
Eskom report to determine Minister's actions

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says a report she is expecting from the Eskom board will help her decide on the correct action required to restore credibility at the power utility.

On Friday, Minister Brown held a meeting with Eskom’s acting Chairperson Zethemba Khoza and acting Group Chief Executive of Eskom Johnny Dladla.

At the meeting the Minister questioned the electricity utility’s commitment to speedily addressing allegations of maladministration and corruption, thereby beginning to restore public confidence.

The Minister in particular expressed her disappointment at Eskom’s inappropriate and tardy responses to questions she had asked relating to its business relationship with Trillian.

In June the power utility claimed that transactions between Trillian and consultancy firm McKinsey were all above board. However, it is reported a New York-based company red flagged these payments and recommended a legal review. Trillian is reportedly linked to the controversial Gupta family.

The Minister received a report on 1 September from Eskom that was not signed off by Khoza.

The report contained glaring gaps, and the Minister requested further information. Eskom is one of the six state-owned companies falling within the ambit of the Department of Public Enterprises.

The report received followed the Minister’s instructions to the power utility to clarify its business association with Trillian Capital Holdings.

The utility was initially supposed to submit the report on 31 August but the Minister extended the deadline, saying she wanted additional information.

“It was recently revealed that information Eskom provided the Minister about its dealings with Trillian, which she used to respond to Parliamentary questions, was inaccurate. At Friday’s meeting the Minister issued Eskom with a final ultimatum,” said the Ministry of Public Enterprises.

The Eskom Board is due to meet on Monday with Minister Brown due to receive a briefing on resolutions of the Board on Tuesday.

Minister Brown is expecting a briefing on the following issues:

  • Disciplinary processes;
  • Investigations into questionable contracts;
  • Stability in the company and particular the Executive team;
  • Why it took the legal department five days to present the report to the Board after the report was given to the Minister without it receiving Board approval.
  • What happened between the first and second media statements Eskom issued about Trillian in June 2017?

Tuesday’s briefing, said the Ministry, must specifically include an update on investigative and disciplinary processes with respect to former Acting Group Chief Executive Matshela Koko and Chief Financial Officer Anoj Singh.

It must also provide the Minister with definitive answers to the questions on Trillian.

“The Minister further expects the Board to present her with a roadmap with specific timelines to bring finality to all issues.”

Minister Brown has told Eskom bosses that the ongoing leaking of confidential information is not helping the utility’s public image, and that it is inappropriate for the shareholder representative to be informed of Eskom’s internal affairs through the media.

“The Minister said that the report the Chairperson presents to her on Tuesday would help her to determine the scope and nature of the decisive action required to restore Eskom’s credibility,” said the Ministry.

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