Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown on Thursday dismissed calls for her resignation, saying that South African state-owned companies were in a better position since she took over in 2014.
Brown, who twice missed a session to answer questions in the National Assembly – once because she was testifying in a parliament inquiry on state capture and again when she called in sick – responded in writing to opposition Democratic Alliance MP Natasha Mazzone.
Mazzone wanted to know, given the mounting allegations of state capture at state-owned enterprises, whether Brown considered resigning.
“The answer to the question is NO. The member must be educated about the rights of any person in South Africa who stand accused or against who allegations are levelled,” the minister said in writing.
“This is a constitutional state in which the rights of all citizens are protect and this is paramount. Therefore all allegations must be tested in a court of law or a body entrusted with the authority to do so and adjudicate such allegations.”
Brown took a swipe at Mazzone, telling the MP that the appointment of Cabinet ministers is at the discretion of the president and the ruling party.
“It is easy to get caught up in the song of the choir of negativity. Let me say that SOCs are in a better position today than when I took over. The SOCs in my portfolio increased their asset base from about R750 million in 2014 to over R1 trillion.”
Brown has dismissed the parliamentary inquiry into allegations of state capture at Eskom as a kangaroo court.
During her testimony before the inquiry last week she denied evidence from former Eskom chairman Zola Tsotsi that she met with a close business associate of the Gupta brothers at her home.
The minister said Eskom executives had deceived her about irregular payments to the Gupta’s Trillian Capital Holdings and the flawed decisions that allowed former CEO Brian Molefe to claim a R30 million pension payout after leaving the company under a cloud in late 2016.
Brown’s appearance before the inquiry included a hostile exchange with former finance minister Pravin Gordhan in which he charged that her only response to allegations of state capture by companies linked to the Gupta family was “denial, denial, denial”.
– African News Agency (ANA)