Sunday, December 16, 2018
Lynne Brown

Lynne Brown

Department of Public Enterprises

EIGHTEEN months into her position as minister of public enterprises, Lynne Brown is probably as astonished as the rest of the country that she has survived President Jacob Zuma’s habit for making seemingly capricious cabinet member changes. As the custodian of South Africa’s topsy-turvy state-owned enterprises (bar of course SAA because she too didn’t get on with the national carrier’s controversial chairperson Dudu Miyeni) Brown had to bear the brunt of South African household and business wrath when load shedding reeked havoc for the first half of the year. Brown, a pragmatist by nature who doesn’t like to micromanage, had the wisdom to appoint Brian Molefe as the CEO of Eskom, bringing much-needed stability to the troubled power utility. With Molefe at the helm, load shedding has been minimal in the last few months with only sporadic outages where generating units failed. Whether Brown’s position as public enterprises minister is secure for the foreseeable future remains to be seen, especially since performance doesn’t seem to be the main consideration for our fickle, laughing head of state.


Brown was born in Cape Town and was premier of Western Cape until the African National Congress (ANC) lost control of the province to the opposition Democratic Alliance in 2009. She began her career as a teacher and gained a certificate in gender planning methodology at University College London. In 2014, she was appointed minister of public enterprises when president Jacob Zuma took his second term in office.