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Molefe refutes claims of involvement in Tegeta coal deal

Brian Molefe told Parliament’s Scopa that he only took office at the power utility a month after the contract for the Brakfontein colliery was signed.

FILE: Eskom CEO Brian Molefe.  Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Eskom CEO Brian Molefe says there’s a misconception that he was involved in coal contract negotiations with Gupta-owned Tegeta.

He’s told Parliament’ Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) that he only took office at the power utility a month after the contract for the Brakfontein colliery was signed in 2015.

Scopa is probing Eskom's non-compliance issues related to its coal contracts and as highlighted by a PricewaterhouseCoopers report commissioned by the power utility.

Molefe says that only three of an original 48 issues flagged still need to be addressed.

These include lab testing of the coal and internal training for some staff.

“What the PWC report did is that it pointed out these things that you’re now talking about, and we’ve since fixed them. So it’s no longer the case that the declaration of interests is not done and that all the issues that you’ve raised are not adhered to.”

Molefe has told the committee that Eskom has never had a culture of competitive bidding when it comes entering into coal contracts.

He says that Eskom recognised its failures in complying with procurement regulations and hence it commissioned audits by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

He adds that the current board has changed its approach to coal procurement.

“Eskom has never had a culture of competitive bidding. And those companies, that happen to be white-owned acquired their business with Eskom. Over the last five years, there were no competitive bids.”

Molefe says he only joined Eskom after the Tegeta deal was concluded and so he could not be accused of giving the company preferential treatment.

At the same time, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has referred the Tegeta coal deal and all Eskom procurement from 2007 onwards to the Special Investigating Unit.

WATCH: Eskom, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown appear before Scopa over Eskom's Tegeta deal

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)