Outa joins calls to fire Lynne Brown

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has given the president 14 days to take action against the minister for violating the executive ethics code.

Anti-corruption lobby group Outa has joined the DA in its call for President Cyril Ramaphosa to immediately remove Public Enterprise Minister Lynne Brown.

This follows the findings of a report on her by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane regarding contracts between state utility Eskom and a Gupta-linked company.

In her report, Mkhwebane gives the president 14 days to take action against the minister after she found that Brown had violated the executive ethics code.

The report was in relation to a complaint raised by the DA last year after Brown claimed in response to a parliamentary question that there had been no agreement between Eskom and Trillian.

This was later debunked by an AmaBhungane report which established that either Trillian or a subsidiary company had, at the time of the reply, already invoiced Eskom for R266 million.

The lobby group’s CEO Wayne Duvenhage also criticised Mkhwebane for having been lenient on Brown, in finding her to have “inadvertently” misled parliament on the nature of the contracts, arguing that the minister had relied too much on information from the Eskom board at the time.

“She has treaded too softly when the reality is that if there was sufficient evidence that something was wrong and you know or have heard of it and have done nothing about it, you are directly implicated.

“She didn’t do a sufficient assessment and an analysis that was independent. She was just relying on her board to get to the bottom of it once the matter was exposed,” said Duvenhage.

Mkhwebane’s spokesperson Cleopatra Mosana said she could no longer comment on the matter following the DA taking it to court.

In a statement this week, DA MP Natasha Mazzone lauded the findings by the public protector, saying this was Ramaphosa’s cue to fire Brown.

“Minister Brown has acted for far too long with utter impunity. Her time has finally come to face the music,” she said.

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