The Eskom Inquiry is now in full swing and Pravin Gordhan wasted no time in his attack on disgraced former CFO, Anoj Singh.
On Tuesday night, Pravin Gordhan went to work on former Eskom CFO Anoj Singh.
In her opening remarks the Chairperson for the inquiry, Ms Zukiswa Rantho, said: “Events over the past weekend will not derail the work of the Committee, the appointment of a new board at Eskom and resignation of Mr Singh, the inquiry will still go ahead.”
Gordhan has been serving the inquiry in his role as an ANC MP and boy, was he holding nothing back.
“There have been downgrades on your watch. There’s a liquidity problem on your watch. You’ve been part of bringing Eskom down to its knees; the biggest utility on the African continent… you’ve been part of the team that’s brought it to its knees.”
Ms Rantho said there was still work to be done so as to get to the bottom of the mismanagement of funds at the power utility. “We will still continue doing our oversight in the entities that are at our disposal or are part of our portfolio Committee. We acknowledge the appointment of the new board. We are going to work with the new board and we hope that they (the board) will turn the entity around. We acknowledge changes at Eskom such as the resignation of Mr Singh but we will still interact with him,” said Ms Rantho.
In his submission, Mr Singh said management and Board of Directors (BOD) undertook an operating model change in 2010. This change envisaged a shift from decentralised operating model to a matrix organisational structure. This allowed for a lack of accountability and watering down of responsibility.
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“I was not the person who approved any transactions on my own but acted on the resolutions of the BOD or its sub-committee,” said Mr Singh. The pre-payment of R1.6bn and the associated guarantee issued to Tegeta was authorised by the BOD. The pre-payment of R600m was authorised by the Board Tendering Committee (BTC). The transaction with McKinsey & Company and its subcontractor (Trillian) was approved by the BTC. The Optimum Coal Mine penalty settlement of R577m was approved by the BTC.
“The pre-purchase of coal was approved by the BTC at its meeting on 11 April 2016. I did not attend this meeting nor was I aware of the meeting taking place as I am not a member of the BTC. I was informed about the meeting by the head of the legal team on 12 April 2016 and that the meeting resolved that the CFO should perform certain duties.”
Mr Singh said as a CFO, he had no knowledge of negotiations with Tegeta for the pre-payment of R600m as he was not involved in the negotiations of this contract.
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Members of the Committee were disappointed by how Mr Sigh responded to the questions. The Committee said Mr Singh failed to assist the Committee in providing information on acts of corruption.
The Committee was of the view that Mr Singh was part of a team that had brought the power utility to its knees. The Committee said under his watch there had been downgrades by credit rating agencies.
The Committee submitted that he (Mr Singh) failed dismally as a financial director, members called on Mr Singh to accept responsibility and fiduciary duties that are tasked to him. Members warned Mr Singh to take the inquiry very seriously.
In his response to questions asked by evidence leader for the inquiry, Adv Ntuthuzelo Vanara relating to his relationship with the Gupta family, Mr Singh said: “The Guptas did not pay for my trip. I have no relationship with the Gupta family. I have met the Gupta family through business breakfasts and TNA breakfast shows. I do not have a personal relationship with the Gupta family.”
The Committee wanted to know why he resigned from his position. He said he had tendered his resignation following the developments and announcements over the weekend where there was a requirement that he be removed from his position. “I acceded to the request,” he said.