Brown holds Eskom bailout cards close to her chest

Johannesburg - Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown is keeping her Eskom cards close to her chest ahead of the state utility's financial results announcement on Wednesday.

She refused to comment on remarks from Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba last week that he is considering "soft support" for Eskom.

"You must ask the minister what he is asking me," said brown after her address at the energy conference in Sandton on Tuesday, where she revealed her scepticism of Eskom’s truthfulness.

She emphasised she would not comment on Eskom 's finances until financial results are presented on Wednesday.

READ: Lynne Brown questions Eskom's truthfulness

Brown added that she would be making an announcement about the Special Investigative Unit (SIU)’s investigation into Eskom soon.

“We’ve given the document around the investigation to Justice Minister Michael Masutha for review,” she said.

In May Brown announced in parliament that a full-scale investigation into Eskom would be launched. The SIU and a retired judge was appointed to take charge of the investigation, which has broad scope and would review all ten investigation since 2007.

This included reports emanating from previous investigations, including the coal procurement processes and the state capture report by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela last year.

But she added that the investigation was not an alternative to the state capture report and would go much wider. She said her ministry wanted a “deep dive” into all the issues that has plagued Eskom.

READ: Mystery of Eskom's money

On Tuesday Brown said she was satisfied that the scope of the investigation was not too broad.

“The thing about 2007, there has been 10 investigation that has taken place since 2007,” she said. “So what I really want is to synergise those investigations.”

She explained that many of the recommendations have been followed through, but many have not run its proper course. “The more dominant investigations will be from around 2010 and after,” she said.

The minister felt that it was crucial “synergise” the 10 investigations, and to investigate if there were systemic issues. “I want to see if there are trends and so forth.”

She said after all the investigations had been pulled together, it might then be advisable to do another thorough “deep dive” into just how exactly Eskom operates.

Her department has a memorandum of understanding with the SIU to review these allegations and the retired judge would make recommendations on the remedial action that needs to be taken, the minister explained.

Brown said there are no new investigations except what has already been put in the public domain.

The Eskom board earlier contracted law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) to conduct a forensic and legal investigation, following allegations that Koko’s stepdaughter scored contracts worth R1bn from the parastatal.

Brown said she had asked CDH to investigate on a short-term basis and establish the veracity of information currently in the public domain.

She said the Hawks are investigating Transnet's Chinese 1 064 locomotive deal as well as the Trillian report.

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