Lawmakers refer Eskom chairmen for criminal probe

While the threat of blackouts looms.
Ben Ngubane is among those who have been identified as the focus for an investigation. Picture: Moneyweb

South African lawmakers referred the names of three former chairmen of the country’s state-owned power utility to law-enforcement agencies after they found the individuals conducted themselves unethically and possibly criminally during their time at the producer.

Zola Tsotsi, Ben Ngubane and Zethembe Khoza, together with former Eskom Chief Executive Officers Brian Molefe and Matshela Koko, are among the names that parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises is asking the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation to focus its probe on, it said in a report released Wednesday.

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In June last year, the committee resolved to probe governance, procurement issues and the financial sustainability of the cash-strapped company that produces almost all South Africa’s power. Eskom is struggling with high debt and declining demand as it takes steps to emerge from multiple scandals involving graft and mismanagement.

Read: Eskom interim profit plunges 89% from year ago

In the meantime, the threat of blackouts looms, which would add pressure on the economy that plunged into a recession earlier this year. President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged to stamp out corruption since taking over from Jacob Zuma in February. That has included replacing directors at a number of state companies including Eskom, which ratings companies have identified as a key risk to Africa’s most-industrialised economy.

This is the second report released this month that refers Eskom board members and executives to prosecutorial authorities. A study by Fundudzi Forensic Services, which the National Treasury contracted to investigate the appointment of McKinsey & Co. to advise Eskom and state logistics company Transnet, and coal procurement from a company controlled by the Zuma-connected Gupta family, also recommended criminal investigations against Molefe and Koko, among others.

The committee said the former chairmen and executives “reasonably ought to have known or suspected” that their failure to report the flouting of governance rules relating to some contracts “may constitute criminal conduct”. Former public enterprises ministers Lynne Brown and Malusi Gigaba were “grossly negligent in carrying out” responsibilities as the representatives of the sole shareholder in Eskom.

The contracts concerned included the replacement of steam generators at the Koeberg nuclear-power facility; the replacement of boilers at the Duvha coal-fired plant; advisory contracts with McKinsey and other consulting companies and the coal-supply agreement with the Gupta family’s Tegeta Exploration and Resources Ltd. The committee said Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta, as well as Zuma’s son, Duduzane, were among 10 “external persons” who may have unduly influenced Eskom decisions

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Citizens get off the grid. The sooner the better.

Yes…but when the scum have your registration details for solar panels then they will introduce a tax on it-to make up the lost revenue-and more!!

The problem is that these devices get stolen. I have solar connected to my borehole. When I go away for longer than a week, I have to take it down. Many farmers in our area (EC) have had their solar devices stolen.

Prosecute? Like they did Zuma for corruption? Like they did Malema for corruption? If anyone is actually charged, all they need to do is pretend to be sick. Maybe roll around on the courtroom floor for a bit, like Porrit. Do that for long enough and presto, just like Malema, you are free to do it all gain. Case closed. They are trying to make the right noises before asking voters to “give them another chance”. I hope the comrades didn’t also steal the money that was intended for buying votes with t-shits and meal vouchers.

How do you get people in “the most developed country in Africa” to use dried cow dung as fuel for cooking? Simply give the people the right to determine their own destiny. The infrastructure and service delivery a democracy can never be more than a manifestation of the mindset of the average voter. The freedom charter is a document that changes “the best utility in the world”(pre-ANC Eskom) into cow dung. It is quite amazing to see this process in action. The ANC manifesto describes the secrete elusive process called reverse alchemy, it turns precious objects into dung.

True, but the people are tired of this. Tired of political arrogance and self-serving “leaders”. The whole rainbow is tired of this. The rainbow needs to think when it votes next round…

Ah, but therein lies the problem – thinking.The people cannot seem to progress past blind loyalty and until they do actually start thinking critically for themselves, there will be no change, no matter how tired they are of the situation.

End of comments.





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