Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says CEOs of state-owned entities should steer away from what he calls “open political debate”.
Gordhan was speaking during the Eskom Board’s briefing of parliament’s Public Enterprises Committee on the utility’s financial results and annual report for the 2021/2022 financial year.
He has raised concerns about a video circulating on social media involving Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter being interviewed by an independent television station. During the interview, De Ruyter could be heard saying he was informed by a senior minister that Eskom was being used to benefit the African National Congress (ANC) with the knowledge of some senior politicians.
“What is important Chair is that CEOs of any entity including, Eskom should not be involved in open political debate and assertions. And where they have political views, that’s their private business and they are welcome to express those views privately. But it is the responsibility of any CEO in any entity to keep their focus on the job at hand and make sure that this is done as professionally as possible.”
Gordhan says the Eskom Board has an obligation to look into the video clip circulating on social media.
He raised concerns about the video. “Corporate governance requires that the Eskom Board must look at these clips. They must deliberate on this particular matter and report both to the shareholder and indeed to Parliament on the outcome of the deliberations. It’s rather unfortunate that an important fight of the country as a whole is involved in respect of eradicating our institutions of corruption, is now caught up in unnecessary controversy it would seem.”
Board set to report to parliament
ANC Member of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises Jabulile Mkhwanazi wants the matter around the video to be discussed and was critical of the platform that was used by De Ruyter to express his views.
“Chair I don’t want to be tempted to discuss the issue raised by the Minister of the video clip by the GCEO, but I want to suggest to you Chair that can we put the timelines for the board to report to the portfolio committee next week on the issues raised and on the issue of the platform of which the issues were raised I am really not comfortable Chair 1, on the way the issues were raised in the platform who the issues itself that were raised there. But I just want to suggest to you and the committee the timelines of course, which is next week. I think it is very important and very sensitive that we deal with this issue.”
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