Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane has been in the firing line since former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report was released.
However, perhaps the most bizarre recent call for Ngubane to quit or be axed came on Saturday from Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) deputy Gauteng chairperson Mandisa Mashego, who called him “Zuma’s son-in-law” who had “started his things at the SABC”.
EFF leader Julius Malema retweeted her statement.
Ngubane faced censure for slamming Madonsela’s report and laying the blame at her door for Eskom CEO Brian Molefe’s resignation. Molefe and the whole Eskom board were implicated in her report for giving Gupta-owned company Tegeta a preferential coal deal worth hundreds of millions of rands, and perhaps billions more over time. The deal did not go out to tender or follow proper procedure in any way.
Molefe, however, continues to maintain that he’s done nothing wrong. Eskom said it would take Madonsela’s report on review, but it’s unclear if it still plans to do that and what its chances of success might be if it were to try.
The EFF was referencing the fact that Ngubane served as chairperson of the SABC before moving to Eskom. The SABC was heavily criticised for broadcasting The New Age breakfasts, which the public broadcaster eventually admitted in 2014 were more advantageous to the Gupta-owned New Age media brand than to the SABC itself.
Those breakfasts were heavily sponsored to the tune of tens of millions of rands by Eskom and Transnet, coincidentally the two companies that Molefe has led in recent years.
As for the allegation that Ngubane is Zuma’s son-in-law, well, Ngubane is married to Sheila Ngubane, who it was reported in 2015 by the Sunday Times may have been benefiting improperly from Eskom.
As far as we know, though, she is not President Jacob Zuma’s daughter.
But the president has a lot of children, and you just never know.