Monday, 22 March 2021 16:57

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown says she did not know Brian Molefe when he was controversially seconded to take over as CEO at Eskom.

However, Brown said, Molefe's name came up during a meeting she had with former president Jacob Zuma over concerns about load-shedding.

She would later have a telephone conversation with then deputy president and current head of state Cyril Ramaphosa, who also threw his weight behind Molefe for the Eskom top job.

Brown said this at the state capture inquiry on Monday.

She was being grilled on her role in the controversial secondment of Molefe from Transnet to Eskom in 2015.

Molefe was unveiled by Brown as Eskom acting CEO on April 17, 2015.

At the time, then Eskom boss Tshediso Matona had been unceremoniously suspended.

When Molefe was brought in from Transnet, Matona was still in negotiations with the Eskom board on what he deemed an illegal suspension.

Matona would later take a R6m settlement offer to leave, paving the way for Molefe who was later appointed on a permanent basis.

Molefe has previously testified at the commission that it was Brown who approached him to move to Eskom.

This while other witnesses have told the inquiry it was the Guptas who wanted Molefe at the power utility to champion their interests.

Brown presented her own version of events on Molefe's appointment.

"I did not know Mr Molefe. There was an occasion I went to the presidency. There was issue that we were still having load-shedding and there seemed to be a very serious exercise that had been done that I had access to — I am not sure if it was an intelligence exercise — which said that Gauteng was going into a blackout and that I should act on it," said Brown.

She added that the decision to go for Molefe was sound because he ended load-shedding and bolstered staff morale at the power utility.

Brown also told the state capture commission that she had no direct link in appointing then CFO Anoj Singh.

The commission today heard how under Brown's leadership and her term as minister, no proper employment procedures were followed in the appointment of the two men.