Brown under fire from Qoma
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown took instructions from the Gupta brothers and ordered the Eskom board not to suspend Matshela Koko as CEO of the power utility, a witness yesterday told the parliamentary inquiry into the company.
Khulani Qoma, the now suspended spokesperson for the Eskom board, said he had earlier this year urged chairman Zethembe Khoza to suspend Koko because of the reputational damage he believed was being inflicted on the company.
Qoma said Khoza agreed fairly readily that it should be done, but cautioned that former chairman Ben Ngubane had also wanted to move against Koko, but was blocked by the minister.
“He tells me because Minister Brown is captured, Minister Brown reports to the Guptas and then he tells me about the new board members. He says on June 23, which would have been the date of the AGM, four board members are going to be announced and those board members have been appointed by the Guptas,” Qoma told the parliamentary inquiry conducted by the portfolio committee on public enterprises.
He said Khoza then switched to Zulu and added that the board members were so young that they looked like school children.
“He then tells me that actually Dr Ngubane came very close to suspending Koko, but was stopped in his tracks by Minister Brown.”
He said Ngubane had persuaded the rest of the board that this was the correct course of action. Koko had already left the office for the day and was summoned back.
But the Gupta brothers were called to inform them of the decision and they called Brown, who in turn called Ngubane and ordered him not to do it, Qoma added.
Qoma was scathing of Brown’s track record as public enterprises minister and of her claims that she was unaware or had been lied to about key events in Eskom’s turbulent affairs.
He said it was Khoza who first put it to him that the minister was “captured”, but his observations had borne out the theory that she was entangled in the dealings between Eskom management and the Guptas.
“She has gone to the ends of the earth to say she is not wet, yet she is right in the middle of the water,” said Qoma.
“The problem here is the minister. The minister needs to sit here and account because this mess would not have been possible if she was capable. She is totally incapable,” he said. – ANA
She has gone to the ends of the earth to say she is not wet, yet she is right in the middle of the water. Khulani Qoma Eskom board’s suspended spokesperson