Graft claims have tainted Eskom’s im­age, Brown ad­mits

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Ziyanda Mbolekwa

PUB­LIC En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Lynne Brown yes­ter­day ac­knowl­edged the charges of mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion and cor­rup­tion made against state-owned power util­ity Eskom.

Brown told the open­ing of the three-day POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa sum­mit in Sand­ton that none of the al­le­ga­tions had been proved. But Brown ad­mit­ted that the al­le­ga­tions have tainted the im­age of the util­ity.

“None of the al­le­ga­tions have been proved in a court of law yet, but they have fun­da­men­tally eroded in­tegrity. Cer­tain matters are now in court, and I am con­strained to say more about them,” she said.

Brown launched a probe into Eskom in May.

“I have also asked the new in­terim board of Eskom to con­duct cer­tain short-term in­ves­ti­ga­tions of their own and re­port to me with rec­om­men­da­tions. There will be more an­nounce­ments in this re­gard in due course about Eskom and other state-owned en­ti­ties in my de­part­ment’s port­fo­lio.”

Brown said mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion and cor­rup­tion were en­e­mies of rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

“Twenty-three years af­ter apartheid, our coun­try con­tin­ues to suf­fer gross in­equal­ity from poverty and un­em­ploy­ment. My own view is that this: Man­dela and his gen­er­a­tional lead­ers laid a ta­ble with enough seats for all to be able to eat.

“Although we may not all agree on the spe­cific means and pre­cise ter­mi­nol­ogy (rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion), there is broad so­ci­ety agree­ment with the ANC’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the mean­ing to ac­cel­er­ate trans­for­ma­tion – to take the na­tional demo­cratic rev­o­lu­tion that was once a Man­dela-led (rev­o­lu­tion) to a more log­i­cal and just con­clu­sion, to a South Africa that be­longs to its peo­ple,” she said.

“Eskom is there to gen­er­ate jobs and power, but its big­ger role is to use its mus­cle to develop in­fra­struc­ture to en­able in­dus­trial growth.”

Willy Ma­jola, the act­ing group chief ex­ec­u­tive of Eskom, said Eskom had im­proved its per­for­mance over the past year.

“We are say­ing to big busi­ness: we are open for busi­ness and let’s power the growth of the South African econ­omy and the re­gion.”

PHOTO: SIM­PHIWE MBOKAZI

Pub­lic En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Lynne Brown says cor­rup­tion and mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion are en­e­mies of rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

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