Has Pravin Gordhan not become complicit in state capture itself?

Open-Ed

  • I felt let down by the members of SCOPA yesterday, specifically in the quality of questions posed to Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan. 
  • Gordhan appeared before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA), to answer questions following former Eskom GCE André de Ruyter’s allegations of corruption involving organised criminal cartels and the involvement of high ranking government officials at South Africa’s state owned energy utiltiy.
  • I was even more let down by Gordhan himself who, in my opinion, failed to account for himself and uphold the best interests of the nation. 

Background

In a broad-sweeping interview with journalist Annika Larsen on eTV in February, De Ruyter revealed that the country’s ruling party, the ANC, was involved in corruption and political interference at Eskom. In the interview De Ruyter explained that the ANC was more interested in short-term political gains than long-term sustainability for the country. “They want what will win them the next election – not what will keep the country going for the next two decades,” said De Ruyter.

De Ruyter also said that the criminal activity in Mpumalanga was organised and run by four cartels. He said that two senior government officials were involved and that he did communicate this to Pravin Gordhan.

De Ruyter resigned as Eskom GCE in early December 2022 giving four months’ notice, after the country’s energy minister accused Eskom (him) of agitating to overthrow the state. De Ruyter also suffered an attempt on his life after drinking coffee laced with cyanide at his Eskom office. Read more 

After giving the TV interview, the Eskom Board dismissed De Ruyter with immediate effect. De Ruyter has since released a book entitled Truth to Power where he candidly reflects on his three years at the power utility and reiterates what he communicated to Gordhan.

Takeaway

There were two takeaways for me at yesterday’s SCOPA meeting. Pravin Gordhan said that ‘he never set eyes on a privately funded intelligence report into corruption at Eskom’ and ‘he has done nothing wrong.’

Related news: Gordhan appeals ruling excempting school, hospitals and police stations from load-shedding

Gordhan is considered a national hero and champion in the fight against corruption. He played a massive part in bringing about the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture which uncovered widescale corruption and looting at Eskom.

The question

Against this background and considering that tax payers money is nearing R500 billion in Eskom bailouts, and the people of South Africa experience blackouts daily for up to ten hours or more,  I put forward this question:

If you are in charge of Eskom, as the Public Enterprises Minister with direct oversight on the entire organisation, and the GCE you appointed, out of sheer frustration with all the law enforcement services (police, hawks, SPU and NPA), who failed to act on his/Eskom’s reports and evidence of massive and widespread corruption, fraud, looting, theft and sabotage at Eskom, comes to you and says ‘there are criminal cartels, involving high ranking government officials that are involved in the criminal activity at Eskom.’ Do your simply ignore your GCE and do nothing or do you act to put an end to the criminal activity?  

We all know what Gordhan did. He did nothing and by doing nothing, has he not become complicit in state capture himself?

What is your view?

 Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Disclaimer: The articles and videos expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Green Building Africa, our staff or our advertisers. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part Green Building Africa concerning the legal status of any country, area or territory or of its authorities.

Leave A Reply

About Author

Green Building Africa promotes the need for net carbon zero buildings and cities in Africa. We are fiercely independent and encourage outlying thinkers to contribute to the #netcarbonzero movement. Climate change is upon us and now is the time to react in a more diverse and broader approach to sustainability in the built environment. We challenge architects, property developers, urban planners, renewable energy professionals and green building specialists. We also challenge the funding houses and regulators and the role they play in facilitating investment into green projects. Lastly, we explore and investigate new technology and real-time data to speed up the journey in realising a net carbon zero environment for our children.

Copyright Green Building Africa 2024.