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Former Eskom chair Ben Ngubane to testify before inquiry

Mar 07 2018 06:15
Lameez Omarjee and Jan Cronje

Cape Town - Former Eskom board chair Ben Ngubane is set to appear before the Eskom inquiry on Wednesday.

The inquiry has, since since mid-October 2017, been investigating allegations of maladministration at the state power utility. 

Ngubane was appointed Eskom board chair in 2015, following his tenure as chair of the SABC between 2010 and 2013.

He quit as Eskom chair in June 2017. A spokesperson for the power utility's board at the time said it was shocked by the "surprise" decision.

The board has since been changed. 

At the time he said he was resigning for personal reasons, saying there were "opportunities in the business world that I am keen to grab that I can’t do while being chairperson of Eskom”.

Ngubane's name surfaced in the Gupta leaks, around the same time he stepped down from the power utility.

Former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, meanwhile, alleged in May 2017 that Ngubane and Eskom's then CEO Brian Molefe had attempted to pressure him to help the Gupta family, by suspending the mining licences of Glencore mines.

Ngubane in turn called the allegations “barefaced lies”.

During his testimony before the inquiry in November 2017, Molefe shared his version of the event.

Molefe told the committee that he did not support moves to suspend Glencore’s licences.

He denied being influenced by the Gupta family in any of his work at Eskom, and said that Glencore had made the decision to sell Optimum Coal mine to Gupta-owned company Tegeta Exploration and Resources without interference. 

Ngubane also oversaw the controversial retirement package to Molefe, which was set aside by a court in late January 2018. 

The committee is set to start hearing Ngubane’s evidence at 09:30.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Ben Ngubane was appointed board chair in 2014. He was appointed chair in October 2015. 

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eskom  |  brian molefe  |  ben ngubane  |  eskom inquiry
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