‘If Eskom is captured, it's by the Constitution & not the Guptas’

Brian Molefe says they’re bound by no less a document than the Constitution to do business with the Guptas.

FILE: Eskom CEO Brian Molefe. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Eskom CEO Brian Molefe says if he has been captured, it was by the Constitution and not the Gupta family.

Molefe was responding to questions from Members of Parliament (MPs) about Eskom's relationship with the Gupta-linked company Tegeta and allegations of preferential treatment.

Earlier this week, Treasury said it had met with resistance from Eskom over its review of contracts but Eskom denied this, saying all the required documents were submitted by close of business yesterday.

Molefe, flanked by board chairperson Ben Ngubane and Eskom executives, strongly defended the parastatal's business dealings with the family in Parliament today.

The CEO says until there is a solid reason for the Guptas to be blacklisted by Eskom, they're bound by no less a document than the Constitution to do business with the family as with anyone else.

"That is all that I have said on the matter. I don't know if by saying so, I am a captured person. But I am captured by the Constitution - not by the Guptas."

Molefe says as far as he knows the Guptas have not been found guilty of anything.

"Then I get labelled to be a Gupta person just because I will not break the laws of our country, which says I cannot blacklist them without a reason. It's as simple as that - we cannot blacklist them without providing reasons."

Ngubane is adamant the utility has done nothing wrong and all deals with the Gupta family have been above board.

He says at no stage did Eskom buy substandard coal or give the Tegeta company pre-payments.

Ngubane has asked MPs to stop listening to the lies being told about Eskom.

"This campaign to kill trust in Eskom and to actually portray us as if we are bored or captured is nonsense. Please help us with that."

An upbeat Molefe started by telling MPs Eskom is in good operational and financial shape, with no load shedding on the horizon.

Molefe halted an attempt to limit questions.

"We are ready to answer the questions and we in fact would pray that we're allowed to answer these questions, all of them."

Ngubane insisted the coal deal with the Gupta-linked company Tegeta was above board.

"So there is no attempt at all to be devious, to be uncooperative, to hide things because there is nothing to hide."

MPs heard that the coal provided by Tegeta was not deficient in quality and that pre-payments were common practice.

The delay in getting Eskom's response to Treasury's questions was because it had asked for them to first go before the board.

But the Eskom board is due to meet only on 21 September.