Eskom CEO Brian Molefe became emotional and broke down in tears on Thursday during a briefing by the power utility in Sunninghill‚ Johannesburg.
Molefe is one of several people implicated in the explosive State of Capture report along with Cabinet ministers Mosebenzi Zwane and Des van Rooyen. The document published on Thursday revealed damning details about Molefe’s cosy relationship with the family.
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When pressed by journalists to comment on his links to the controversial Gupta family following the release of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s “State of Capture” report, Molefe appeared angry.
“The Public Protector has painted me with a corrupt brush … During this period my children will be told ‘your father is corrupt’,” Molefe said.
“I do not agree that the board should resign over this matter. I take the responsibility. I don’t think the minister [of public enterprises] should resign. I also don’t think that the president should resign over this matter. I will resign‚” he said.
He said Madonsela didn’t contact him regarding her probe and she had cancelled a meeting with him, saying he would have explained the Tegeta contract if he had been given the opportunity to.
It stated that Eskom’s board was at one point solely to the benefit of Tegeta Exploration & Resources, a Gupta-controlled company. It raises serious questions around the acquisition of Optimum coal mine by the company, including a contract the power producer awarded to it worth more than R500 million to supply coal to power stations.
He made light of the cellphone evidence gathered by Madonsela placing him at the Guptas’ Saxonwold compound, saying “there’s a shebeen there in that area”. The report showed that from 2 August 2015 to 22 March 2016, Molefe called Ajay Gupta a total of 44 times and he called Molefe 14 times.
Board chairperson Ben Ngubane says the company stands by its CEO, emphasising that details contained in the state capture report are speculative. He also lashed out at Madonsela, accusing her of denying Eskom executives the right of reply in her report which implicates them in possible wrong doing.
Ngubane said the report should have been completed by the new Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who took over from Madonsela last month.
Eskom had earlier in the day reported a 10.5 percent increase in revenue year-on-year to R97.1bn for the six months ended in September due to a 31.6 percent increase in electricity exports to Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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– Additional reporting by African News Agency