Eskom distances itself from board spokesperson's testimony

Cape Town - Eskom on Tuesday evening distanced itself from testimony critical of Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown made by the power utility's board spokesperson Khulani Qoma.

Qoma was testifying earlier in the day before the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises during Parliament’s inquiry into state capture at Eskom. 

He had sharply critisiced Brown, branding her a “liar" who was “totally incompetent”. 

READ: As it happened: ‘Brown is the problem at Eskom’ – Qoma

Qoma also accused Brown of interfering to prevent the suspension of then interim CEO Matshela Koko by the Eskom board earlier this year, allegedly after the controversial Gupta family asked her to do so.

Brown later released a statement to say she had never taken instructions from anybody. She also hit out at the format of the state capture inquiry, saying it was excluding the voices of people accused of wrongdoing. 

Now Eskom itself, in a statement, said it wished to “distance itself” from Qoma’s testimony, as well as the earlier testimony of its suspended legal head Suzanne Daniels.

Daniels claimed in testimony last week that Ajay Gupta and Gupta-associate Salim Essa on separate occasions tried to influence decisions related to executives at the power utility.

Eskom chair Zethembe Khoza said on Tuesday that the way Qoma spoke about Brown at the inquiry was “not part of the Eskom culture”.

“There have been several witnesses that have been called to give their testimonies who have clearly represented their own interests at the expense of the organisation and the country at large," said Khoza.  

“We understand that Eskom will be given an opportunity to make a formal presentation at the Parliamentary inquiry where it will give an honest, transparent and truthful account of events.”

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, the public enterprises oversight committee said, while it welcomed Qoma's presentation, it was important to note that people implicated during the inquiry “will be afforded an opportunity to come and appear before the inquiry".

It did not provide further details. 

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