Brown: I won't voluntarily resign over Eskom debacle

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says she does not believe she's solely responsible for the woes at the power utility.

FILE: Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown briefs the media on the state of Eskom at their offices in Woodmead. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Embattled Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says she won't resign over the Eskom debacle unless being told by the president to do so.

She says she does not believe she's solely responsible for the woes at the power utility.

Her remarks on the sidelines of a Parliamentary meeting come as the Eskom inquiry resumes on Tuesday afternoon, with disgraced former chief financial officer Anoj Singh expected to defend himself against allegations of state capture.

Brown says over the past two financial years, Eskom's finances have been in good shape.

She says its current liquidity problems are as a result of recent court challenges over tariff increases.

“Eskom is in a very, very difficult financial position. It's in a crisis position.”

Brown says the new board, appointed over the weekend, now has to stem the crisis.

But she won't voluntarily step down.

“If the president asks me to resign, I will do so.”

Meanwhile, one of Eskom’s newly appointed board members Rod Crompton says it’s going to be a long uphill climb to get the state-owned entity back on track.

The government announced a new 13-member board for Eskom on Saturday, with Jabu Mabuza as chairman.

It follows a high-level meeting between President Jacob Zuma, his Deputy Cyril Ramaphosa and Ministers Malusi Gigaba and Brown on Friday about the serious financial and governance challenges that Eskom faces.

Dr Crompton says he’s honoured to be called on to serve on the new board of Eskom, saying it comes at a critical time in the history of the utility and indeed the country.

“We have a short-term immediate financial situation which has to be addressed, we also have to put Eskom on a sustainable path to the future. The world around Eskom has changed significantly since its business model was developed.”

Crompton is the director of the Energy Leadership Centre at Wits Business School, he served on the National Energy Regulator’s board and was the Deputy Director General at the Energy Department.

He says he has absolute faith in the new board, although the task ahead of them will be challenging.