Eskom interim CEO Collin Matjila is on the spot over a R43-million contract to sponsor The New Age’s (TNA) breakfast briefings, the Mail and Guardian reported on Friday.
The new contract commits the cash-strapped power utility to sponsor around one TNA breakfast briefing per month for three years, the newspaper’s AmaBhungane investigative unit reported.
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown reportedly confirmed that she had been approached with concerns about Matjila’s approval of the contract.
Eskom board chairman Zola Tsotsi said the situation should not be “prejudged”.
“It’s a little premature to comment until I get feedback… to tell me what they [the subcommittee] uncovered.”
The contract apparently overshot Eskom’s sponsorship budget and allegedly did not contain an exit clause, which the parastatal’s lawyers allegedly raised concerns about prior to Matjila’s approval of the contract.
Acting group commercial executive Matshela Koko said the TNA contract was part of Eskom’s “continuing relationship” with the company, which predated Matjila’s tenure as interim CEO.
Spokesman for the Gupta family – the owners of TNA – Gary Naidoo said: “This contract was negotiated not with the then acting chief executive, but with the functional executives at Eskom and Nazeem Howa, TNA chief executive”.
He declined to comment on the Gupta’s relationship with Matjila.
Matjila could not be reached for comment, Sapa said.