Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Eskom Board Member With Gupta Links and Named in Probe Quits

  • Mark Pamensky quits days after Eskom CEO Brian Molefe
  • Pamensky is a director at the Gupta family’s Oakbay Resources

Mark Pamensky, who is a director of a company owned by South Africa’s Gupta family that has ties with President Jacob Zuma’s son, resigned as a board member at state-owned Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., less than a week after the utility’s chief executive officer quit.

Recommendations will be made to the cabinet “soon” on how the power company’s board will be strengthened, Public Enterprise Minister Lynne Brown said in an e-mailed statement announcing the resignation on Tuesday. Pamensky has been a non-executive director at Eskom since December 2014.

Both Pamensky and CEO Brian Molefe were subpoenaed to answer to the nation’s Public Protector over an anti-graft investigation into the influence the Gupta family -- who are friends with Zuma -- have over government appointments and contracts. The family and Zuma deny any wrongdoing. Molefe on Friday said he will leave Eskom “in the interests of good corporate governance” and that his name will be cleared.

Members of Eskom’s board failed to declare their close business and personal relationships with the Gupta family, according to a report released Nov. 2 by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. It appears that Eskom last year forced Glencore Plc into selling its Optimum mine to Tegeta Exploration & Resources Ltd., then part-owned by the Guptas and Zuma’s son, said Madonsela. She ordered the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate whether there had been any wrongdoing.

Pamensky is still the lead independent non-executive director at Oakbay Resources and Energy Ltd., but is no longer a director at Shiva Uranium (Pty) Ltd., according to a company spokesman. Both companies are owned by the Guptas.

Eskom supplies almost all of South Africa’s power.

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