Lynne Brown cannot hide behind sub judice – Natasha Mazzone

DA says Minister's about turn regarding appearance before Parliament is a damning indictment on her credibility

Dodging ANC minister, Lynne Brown, cannot hide behind sub judice

18 May 2017

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown’s outrageous about turn regarding her appearance before Parliament’s extraordinary Public Enterprises Committee meeting tomorrow, is a damning indictment on her waning credibility as a Minister and is yet another example of the all too common practice of ANC ministers dodging accountability.

Yesterday the committee was informed that the Minister will no longer appear before Parliament to account for the shocking reappointment of Brian Molefe as Eskom CEO, as the Department believes that the matter is sub judice.

However, Parliament’s legal opinion stated that the sub judice rule does not necessarily apply to this extraordinary sitting, so long as the committee does not delve into the rationality of Brian Molefe’s appointment.

Parliament can and must still play a vital oversight role alongside court processes.

There are still many important questions regarding governance failures, the processes that allowed for Molefe’s early retirement and the decisions around the R30 million pay-out for which we, and all South Africans, deserve answers.

Parliament can investigate these despite the current court challenge.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Minister Brown is hiding behind the sub judice rule to avoid being held accountable for the catastrophic redeployment of Molefe and her apparent failure at the helm of her department.

It is unacceptable that Parliament is letting her do so. Parliament has the power to summon the Minister and must exercise this power on behalf of all South Africans.

The DA Deputy Chief Whip, Mike Waters MP, raised the attempted cancellation and was given the assurance by ANC Chief Whip, Jackson Mthembu MP, as well as ANC Deputy Chief Whip, Dorries Dlakude MP, that they would engage on the matter but the meeting would continue as scheduled.

Under Lynne Brown’s watch, good governance practices have completely collapsed at Eskom and corruption has been allowed to fester with impunity.

The recent revelations that Brown allegedly mislead Parliament when she failed to disclose if there had been contracts of engagement between Eskom and Trillian, a company owned by the Guptas, is perfect evidence of this.

The DA will, therefore, refer these allegations to the Public Protector for investigation and will also ensure that the Trillion matter forms part of the broader investigation by Parliament into Eskom.

It now appears that the Minister has ties to the Gupta’s and is seemingly blocking Molefe’s removal as Eskom CEO.

It is time for Parliament to perform proper oversight and hold the Minister and the board accountable for the mess at Eskom, as the President has shown his unwillingness to do so because his priorities lie with the self-interest, not with the people of South Africa.

Issued by Natasha Mazzone, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, 18 May 2017