14 Nov 2017
Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Ben Martins. (Photo: Gallo)
14 Nov 2017
Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Ben Martins hits back at Eskom Inquiry
"We wish to emphasise the evidence leader’s failure to uphold the standard and principles of fairness in as far as the conduct of the Parliamentary Enquiry is concerned," he said in a statement released on Tuesday.
"In our considered view, the current Parliamentary Enquiry of the Portfolio Committee of Public Enterprises is an example of failure to uphold Promotion of Fair Administrative Justice and the Constitution."
The Parliamentary Enquiry into the Department of Public Enterprise’s State Owned Companies started on the 17 October 2017.
Before the Parliamentary Enquiry started my colleague, i.e. Honourable Minister Lynne Brown, the Executive Authority of the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) addressed 3 letters to Parliament.
One letter went to the Honourable Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises. The other letter went to the Speaker of Parliament and the third letter was addressed to the Evidence Leader of the Enquiry.
The first letter of 8 August 2017 addressed concerns regarding procedural issues in so far as the Enquiry is concerned.
The second letter of 13 October 2017 raised self-same procedural issues including but not limited to the evidence leader’s conflicted role. The third and final letter dated 19 October 2017 addressed procedural issues in particular the evidence leader’s failure to act ethically and professionally as expected of him in line with rules and ethics governing the advocacy profession.
EVIDENCE LEADER’S ROLE
We wish to emphasize the evidence leader’s failure to uphold the standard and principles of fairness in as far as the conduct of the Parliamentary Enquiry is concerned. This is so, as the Parliamentary Enquiry is subject to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (the Constitution).
The Constitution upholds due process of the law. The Constitution upholds fair procedural administrative process and respect for individual fundamental rights as set out in Chapter 3 of the Constitution (the Bill of Rights).
The Parliamentary Enquiry failed to uphold the Constitution in this regard.The Parliamentary Enquiry has to be lawful, transparent, accountable, fair, regular and valid. These elementary requirements cannot be substituted for less.
This is so as the Parliamentary Enquiry is not permitted to allow others to be implicated without being heard including their version being put before the Enquiry. Such a version could be put and/or had to be put before the Parliamentary Enquiry by the Evidence Leader.
We put it on record that the Evidence Leader has failed the Parliamentary Enquiry process in this regard. To be precise, the Parliamentary Enquiry has permitted testimony implicating various persons without having advised those persons that they were going to be implicated.
There was a duty on the part of the evidence leader to advice such other persons about testimony which was going to implicate them. On this basis alone, the Parliamentary Enquiry has violated the human dignity of such persons.
No one can implicate his or herself. The right to be heard is a fundamental human right.
MS SUZANNE DANIEL’S UNTESTED TESTIMONY
An instance case is the testimony of Ms. Suzanne Daniels, i.e. Eskom’s suspended Acting Head of Legal who also served as Eskom’s Company Secretary.
Ms. Daniels herself being an admitted attorney and Officer of the Court should know about the repercussions of implicating other persons who are not able to respond to being implicated before the Parliamentary Enquiry.
Equally important is the evidence leader’s ethical duty to also uphold the fairness standards by concretizing the right of such implicated persons to be heard. For instance, informing such persons timeously including putting the versions of such implicated persons to witnesses before the Parliamentary Enquiry.
This is necessary and procedurally envisaged in line with legitimizing the hearing without lowering the standards of fairness.In particular, Ms. Daniels testimony including the testimony of all other witnesses who testified before the Parliamentary Enquiry has never been tested. The truthfulness of such testimony falls short of satisfying the requirements of a valid, cogent and admissible evidence.
Clearly the evidence leader has failed to uphold the prime standard expected of a hearing of the nature of the Parliamentary Enquiry should have been done. This is so as those implicated are not able to rebut and/or controvert and/or deny and/or correct the one sided untested version(s) elicited by the evidence leader.
In our considered view, this amounts to an abuse of a Parliamentary Enquiry process which falls short of meeting the requirements of a fair process. On this basis, the Parliamentary Enquiry does not align and configurate with the Constitution.
A Classical Example of failure of the Parliamentary Enquiry Process to uphold the standards of fairness and a lawful just administrative hearing as envisaged by Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA) is demonstrated by failure to accord Deputy Minister Dikobe Ben Martins (Deputy Minister) an opportunity to controvert and/or answer to Ms. Daniels testimony including the evidence leader’s failure to elicit Deputy Minister Martins’ testimony.The following is a version the Deputy Minister would have presented had he been heard.
This is the self-same version the evidence leader should have put to the witness.From 7am until approximately 1:15pm the Deputy Minister was at the funeral service of Mr Ronnie Mamoepa at St Albans Cathedral in Pretoria. Whilst at the funeral the Deputy Minister took several photographs with other former Robben Island political prisoners and posted one of the photographs on his twitter handle.At approximately 1:30pm the Deputy Minister departed from St Albans Cathedral and drove to St Georges Hotel in Irene, where the ANC NEC Legkotla was to commence at 2pm.
Upon arrival at St Georges Hotel Conference Centre the Deputy Minister registered as a participant and was issued with an accreditation card.The Deputy Minister attended the Economic Transformation Commission which was chaired by Mr Enoch Godongwana.Ministers Rob Davies, Ebrahim Patel and Lindiwe Zulu among others made presentations at the commission.Throughout the duration of the commission from approximately 2:30pm until 7:30pm he sat next to the Chairperson of the ANC Parliamentary Caucus Mr Seiso Mohai.
When the Economic Transformation commission deliberations ended for the day, he went to the St Georges Hotel Conference Centre dining hall, where he sat at a dining table with Mr Paul Langa, Mr Vusi Mkhize and other members of the ANC logistics and security unit.Deputy Minister Martins departed from the dining hall at appropriately 08:30pm and went to his residence in Pretoria.
The Chairperson of the ANC Parliamentary Caucus Mr Seiso Mohai, Mr Paul Langa and other ANC members who were in attendance at the commission and the dinner can attest to the above.
From the aforegoing, we request that in the future, any hearings in particular, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Hearings should not lower the standards of procedural fairness as envisaged by PAJA and the Constitution.
In our considered view, the current Parliamentary Enquiry of the Portfolio Committee of Public Enterprises is an example of failure to uphold Promotion of Fair Administrative Justice and the Constitution.
14 Nov 2017
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. (Photo: Gallo)
14 Nov 2017
‘Brown is the problem at Eskom’ – Qoma
Eskom board spokesperson Khulani Qoma blamed Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown for the state capture crisis that had engulfed Eskom, saying “she lies and she lies”.
“The problem here is the minister.”
“She is in the midst of water and yet says she says she is not wet,” he told Parliament’s Eskom inquiry into state capture.
“The minister will never be able to explain why she is in the midst of water and she is not wet.”
Qoma said that “we are too polite” and see her office as more important than substance of what she has done.
“She lies and she lies. She thinks we can’t see these things,” he said. “The fact of the matter is that if we deal with the respect of office, this minister needs to sit here and account. She is totally incompetent.”
Regarding the time Brown lied about Eskom’s payments to Trillian in Parliament, Qoma said: “The minister lied because she used that information from Eskom. She was embarrassed by media reports that stated she had lied.
“Fast forward and she did not do anything. She is the minister in this government. Someone causes her to lie, yet she doesn’t find anything wrong with it.
“She contested it for a minute and then moved on as if she hadn’t been lied to. She put her head down and hoped everyone would forget.
“You have to be totally lost to realise this is unacceptable for a minister. (Suspended Eskom CFO Anoj) Singh did not face any music on this.”
Regarding the Dentons investigation, which saw a variety of executive suspended from Eskom in 2015 – including suspended executive Matshela Koko – Qoma said the investigation excluded terms of reference that would have held Koko guilty.
He said the other executives – which were found innocent but then left Eskom – were only added because they were Koko’s competition in the leadership race at Eskom.
“The minister appointed Koko (as acting CEO) when he had lied on Carte Blanche. There were media reports that suggested he was corrupt,” he said.
“She did not need to do any due diligence. She brought (former CEO Brian) Molefe and Anoj, who are responsible for the destruction of Eskom. She has not responded to the interest of her lover at Eskom.”
14 Nov 2017
Guptas ordered Brown to stop Koko suspension - Eskom board spokesperson
Eskom board spokesperson Khulani Qoma said acting Eskom chairperson Zethembe Khoza told him that Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown was captured and reported to the Guptas.
He told the Public Enterprises inquiry in Parliament that suspended CFO Anoj Singh and suspended acting CEO Matshela Koko were sheltered by the minister because they in turn reported to the Guptas.
Qoma said Khoza called one of the “G-brothers” informing him that former Eskom chair Ben Ngubane was about to suspend Koko.
The Guptas then phoned the minister, who ordered Ngubane not to suspend Koko. This then occurred.
Qoma said he told Ngubane that Koko and Singh were "eating at the reputation of Eskom".
Koko and Singh were subsequently suspended in 2017.
14 Nov 2017
Tainted individuals should have been kept at arms' length
Eskom board spokesperson Khulani Qoma earlier wrote a scathing report in June to the Eskom board where he accused the board of burying evidence against compromised senior executives and ignoring mismanagement at the expense of the utility.
Qoma report said Eskom’s corporate arrogance was costing South African, and wanred that Brian Molefe and Matshela Koko should not be allowed close to the utility. Qoma almost lost his job as a result of his revelations in the report.
He also hit out in the report at Koko for lying about the Gupta-linked Tegeta deal, adding that Koko, suspended CFO Anoj Singh and ex-CEO Molefe were tainted executives.
On Tuesday he told lawmakers that Molefe's return to Eskom in early January was "devastating for Eskom."
"It tainted the image of Eskom," he said.
14 Nov 2017
Koko lied on television - Eskom board spokesperson
Eskom board spokesperson Khulani Qoma was the first witness to appear before the committee on Tuesday.
The day started off with a Carte Blanche documentary being shown, where an interview with former Eskom executive Matshela Koko was shown. Qoma told MPs he was shocked when Koko was appointed CEO.
"He lied on camera to Carte Blanche," he said, calling the Koko interview humiliating.
Koko made an u-turn on his comments, after initially denying that he authorised prepayment to Gupta-owned mining company Tegeta.
14 Nov 2017
Eskom board expected to be in the limelight
The public enterprises committee's inquiry into state capture at Eskom, will resume on Tuesday morning with witnesses expected to detail the Eskom's board role into state capture.
Last week suspended legal head of Eskom Suzanne Daniels told Parliament about how Ajay Gupta and Gupta-associate Salim Essa on separate occasions tried to influence decisions related to executives at the power utility.
READ: #StateCapture: Daniels opens up about Eskom’s ‘Gupta-run’ board
She caused a stir when she explained how she first met Ajay Gupta, one of the three Gupta brothers, in mid-2017.
Daniels told the committee she had been asked to meet with Essa, a friend and close business associate of the Gupta family, at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg on July 29, 2017. She said that, after meeting him at the reception area of the African Pride Hotel, they together walked to a set of nearby apartment blocks.
“We went into one of those apartments. As we walked into the lounge area there were four people, of which I was introduced to Ajay Gupta, Duduzane Zuma, Deputy Minister [of Public enterprises] Ben Martins and a Chinese lady whose name I could not remember,” she said.
Daniels said Ajay Gupta was wearing a grey tracksuit, a T-shirt and no shoes. “My view is he looked worse than if he was at a shebeen,” she said. “The purpose of the discussion was around the process of the [former Eskom CEO Brian] Molefe court proceedings. Mr Gupta wanted to know how far they were.”