Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown – the most powerful openly LGBT politician in Africa – and her romantic partner, Ingrid Tufvesson, have been accused of corruption.
According to reports that emerged on the weekend, it’s been alleged that E Smart Solutions, a company owned by Tufvesson, was awarded two contracts worth R1.2 million by Eskom.
Brown’s department oversees the power utility and, if true, the awarding of contracts to Tufvesson’s company would be grossly irregular and inappropriate.
The company was reportedly contracted to supply oil to Eskom but has no experience in the field, having previously only worked on academic projects.
Tufvesson has insisted that she did not know about the contracts as she was not involved in the running of the company. She said she had resigned from E Smart Solutions last week.
It addition to Tufvesson, the company’s other owner is the mother of Brown’s former personal assistant, Kim Davids.
In August, Brown asked Davids to resign as her personal assistant following allegations that she had inappropriate dealings with the Gupta family, which has been implicated in the state capture saga.
Brown became the country’s first openly gay provincial leader in 2008 as the Premier of the Western Cape. In 2014, she became the first openly lesbian cabinet minister in South Africa after President Jacob Zuma appointed her Public Enterprises Minister. This also made her the first openly LGBT person to be appointed to a cabinet post in any African government.
Coenie Kukkuk, an LGBT activist and attorney, told Mambaonline that the scandal that’s engulfed Brown is particularly tragic in light of her position as an LGBT role model.
“The LGBT community is always extremely proud if one of us makes it in the very straight world out there, despite what LGBTs have to deal with in terms of discrimination, attacks, homophobia and exclusion,” he said.
“However, we are even more devastated when they bring the community into disrepute – and this, our highest level of representation in government. It is disappointing in the extreme.”
The DA has called for the Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, and Parliament’s Ethics Committee to investigate Brown for any role she played in the awarding of the contracts to E Smart Solutions. Brown has yet to comment on the matter.