- This past Wednesday, South Africa’s Special Investigating Unit (SIU), an organisation tasked with investigating corruption and fraud in the country’s state-owned organisations, reported to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on its investigations into Eskom, the country’s state-owned energy utility.
- The SIU reported that 5452 Eskom employees had failed to declare their financial interests.
- Of the 5452 employees, 324 employees were linked to entities on Eskom’s vendor list while 135 employees were doing business with the power utility to the tune of more than R6-billion.
It would seem that for 5452 Eskom public servants, the abuse of state assets for private gain is an entitlement. The rot does indeed runs deep into Eskom’s tiers of management as was revealed in a shocking SIU report to South Africa’s parliament this past week. The SIU reported that 5452 Eskom employees had failed to declare their financial interests.
More alarmingly billions have been siphoned off by 324 employees who are linked to Eskom’s vendor list.
Eskom is swimming in a pool of debt to the tune of around R500 billion plus the country has suffered intermittent load shedding for the past 18 months, which is likely to continue until the end of 2021. The country’s Public Administration Management Act bans and criminalises civil servants doing business with the state. Why have the culprits not faced disciplinary hearings and legal charges?
At Wednesday’s sitting, the SIU told Scopa it had referred seven cases involving Eskom officials to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), with another eight cases being prepared for a referral. It has also instituted 15 disciplinary proceedings concerning the failures to disclose, with two officials having been acquitted and two found guilty. Four officials resigned and Eskom decided not to pursue these cases.
The SIU reported that Eskom red-flagged 34 officials resulting from lifestyle audits. Eight are now facing disciplinary proceedings; seven resigned and 19 investigations are ongoing.
SIU boss Andy Mothibi told MPs that it was challenged by those employees who resigned but assured Scopa that civil action will be pursued in these cases.
“We are driving hard, there are consequences on all fronts. Disciplinary measures, we are following up with Eskom whether they are implementing our recommendations,” said Mothibi.
The noose is tightening around the alleged kingpins of Eskom’s capture. The SIU has instituted civil proceedings against three contractors to recover overpayments totalling R2.78-billion. This comes in addition to a civil summons for R3.8-billion which the SIU and Eskom instituted in August 2020 against former power utility Chairman, Ben Ngubane, CEO Brian Molefe, CFO Anoj Singh plus others. Read more
Author: Bryan Groenendaal