Minister asked if Zuma pushed for Molefe's reappointment

Minister asked if Zuma pushed for Molefe's reappointment

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has been quizzed on possible influence exerted by President Jacob Zuma in the controversial reappointment of Brian Molefe as Eskom CEO.

Lynne Brown_gcis
Photo: GCIS

Brown and Eskom Chairperson Ben Ngubane are being grilled by Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises. 

Molefe's reappointment has caused widespread outrage. He left the power utility after being named as someone with close ties to the Gupta family in the Public Protector's report into state capture.

Former Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlodi has also told the media he was pressured by Molefe and Ngubane to intervene in a coal deal involving Eskom and the Gupta family.

The DA's John Steenhuisen asked Brown if she discussed Molefe's return to Eskom with President Zuma. 

"Did President Jacob Zuma have a conversation with you and instruct you to reinstate Mr Molefe at Eskom? Did you discuss this matter at any stage with the president? And what was his instruction to you, if any, in relation to Mr Molefe?" asked Steenhuisen. 

The IFP's Narend Singh also wanted to know from Brown if anyone influenced her decision.

"Honourable minister, please tell South Africa what is going wrong here. Are you being unduly influenced by anybody to make these kinds of statements that you have made?"

Former Minister of Finance and ANC MP Pravin Gordhan told the committee that "context matters".

"This is not just one isolated incident of hiring and firing and retiring and not retiring and maternity leave or otherwise. This is part of a pattern. Last week, the South African Council of Churches produced its preliminary report which helps us to begin to connect the dots and understand what is actually happening in this context," said Gordhan.

He repeated the question posed by Steenhuisen and Singh.

"Who made what phone call to whom? Which meeting took place with whom as a result of which Mr Molefe was rehired. I don't think we are going to get a truthful answer, but the questions needs to be asked," said Gordhan.

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