Lynne Brown’s longtime lover scored lucrative oil tenders

15 October 2017 - 00:00
The revelation reinforces concerns that Lynne Brown has been protecting former acting CEO Matshela Koko.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER/SUNDAY TIMES The revelation reinforces concerns that Lynne Brown has been protecting former acting CEO Matshela Koko.

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown’s longtime lover and a close associate scored lucrative oil tenders from  Eskom despite having no expertise in the industry.

E Smart Solutions, owned by Brown’s partner, Ingrid Tufvesson, and Michelle McMaster, the mother of Brown’s former personal assistant, Kim Davids, scored two contracts worth R1.2-million in just five months this year. The other director is Davids’s sister, Serisa Bernice Davids.

The revelation reinforces concerns that Brown has been protecting former acting CEO Matshela Koko — who in turn tried to buy her favour by channelling the contracts to Tufvesson’s company. Koko reportedly told friends that Brown would not dare fire him because he had dirt on her.

Tufvesson, a “higher education academic and transformation consultant”, this week admitted that E Smart Solutions had no experience in the oil industry.
“The company isn’t in the oil business,” she said.

The two contracts are to supply oil to Eskom’s transformers at 10 power stations.
McMaster refused to answer questions, instead saying: “Go after Brown. Go after the president [Jacob Zuma] and leave me alone. I am just small fry.”

The husband of Kim Davids, Diogo Mateus, threatened Sunday Times reporter Mzilikazi wa Afrika when he asked about the contracts awarded to the company owned by Brown’s lover, his mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

“You are putting your life in danger. Consider that you’ve got a family, just think about them. My friend, I promise, you won’t see the sun shine again,” Mateus said before ending the call.

The conversation was recorded. Wa Afrika intends opening a case with the police.

Read the full story on the Sunday Times website

Apology to Tufvesson

Timeslive apologises to Ingrid Tufvesson for inaccurately and unfairly stating that she "refused to clarify" her relationship with former Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown in "Lynne Brown’s longtime lover scored lucrative oil tenders" (October 15 2017).

Timeslive argued that Tufvesson evaded a direct answer to the question of whether she was in a relationship with Brown, but Press Ombudsman Johan Retief found that her response "What do you mean? She is my friend. Just like anybody is my friend..." (amongst other similar remarks) was a specific denial.

However, Retief found that the journalist was justified in believing that Tufvesson and Brown had been involved in a relationship, and in reporting it the way he did. For example, the Board of the Higher Education Transformation Network (of which Tufvesson was a former chairperson), recently stated in a media release that her relationship with Brown was “an open public secret”.

Timeslive also apologises to Ingrid Tufvesson for omitting to report her denial that she had benefitted from transactions between Eskom and E Smart Solutions in a shortened version of the article.

Tufvesson also claimed she told the reporter she had never owned E Smart Solutions, the company that won the Eskom deal. However, her lawyer later agreed that she had been a co-owner of the company at the time, and Tufvesson herself later referred to herself as shareholder of the company.

Tufvesson initially claimed that the reporter failed to identify himself when he called her, but withdrew that complaint after a recording of the conversation proved he had. She thereupon claimed the recording had been doctored.

Retief dismissed a complaint that the story ignored her right to privacy, saying that in this case public interest "outweighed that of the individual. By far." He also dismissed a complaint that the story was  homophobic and sexist, saying the mere mentioning of a same-sex relationship cannot qualify as homophobia or sexism.

He dismissed a number of other complaints from Tufvesson, including that the reporter was required to tell her where his information about the relationship came from, that the story was not supplemented and that the headline did not reflect the content of the article.

He also said that Tufvesson raised personal issues regarding the journalist, which were "inappropriate and unworthy of repeating or documenting".

Retief said Tufvesson's motivations for her claim that the reporter elected to report untruthfully was not nearly strong enough to convince him. In any case, he found that the reporter had largely not breached the Press Code.