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Brown: I can't assure independence of new Eskom board

The Public Enterprises Minister says she’s in a process of vetting members who will be appointed to the permanent board.

FILE: Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. Picture: Gaye Davis/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says while she’s appointed a company to vet candidates for Eskom’s new board, she can’t assure their independence because she can’t determine who their "friends" are.

Brown told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Wednesday that she wants a permanent board to be appointed and all disciplinary process at Eskom to be finalised by next month.

Several Eskom executives have been suspended including CFO Anoj Singh for their dealings with Gupta-linked company Trillian that was paid over R500 million for little or no work done.

Brown says she only received Eskom’s final report into its dealings with Trillian this week so she can’t comment yet, but says her legal team will look at it and it will be handed to the Public Protector.

The report, seen by Eyewitness News, reveals the extent to which some executives went to ensure the Gupta-linked company was paid.

Singh, former CEO Brian Molefe and now several others on a previous and current board have been associated with the controversial family.

Brown says she’s in a process of vetting members who will be appointed to the permanent board.

“I can go as far as determining which companies’ people are in, whether they have qualifications. I’ll never be able to test who their friends are.”

At the same time, the minister says she has to assume that Eskom executives are innocent until proven guilty.