public enterprises minister Lynne Brown has vehemently rejected claims that she had a hand in Eskom’s downfall

If anything, she insists the power utility was already in dire straits when then president Jacob Zuma appointed her in May 2014 and that things had far improved when she was removed when President Cyril Ramaphosa reshuffled his cabinet in 2018.

Brown appeared before the State Capture Commission virtually on Friday, 19 March 2021. She gave evidence related to Eskom’s affairs, including her relationship with the Gupta family.

“The point I make is Eskom was in dire financial straits in terms of load shedding. I was called a minister of load shedding, even though I had other portfolios in my portfolio. It is nothing compared to what is happening at the moment. Nobody is blamed at the moment for this load shedding,” she said.

“I want you to reflect on that even if it is not now. The public sentiment against the company was very high. That was just when I came to the company,” Brown further added.

Lynne Brown tells Zondo about Eskom’s woes
The former minister said when she took over the portfolio, Eskom was R180 billion in the red and that by the time she was axed by Ramaphosa, that debt had grown to a staggering R260 million.

Brown said by the time of her appointment, Eskom had already been struggling to put an end to load shedding.

“Eskom was no longer a going concern … It was spending so much money in trying to keep the lights on by purchasing diesel,” Brown said to the commission.

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