The Puppets: Zuma, Ngubane, Molefe, Singh and Koko – South Africa’s State Capture Report on Eskom

  • The State Capture report on South Africa’s state owed energy utility, Eskom, has been release by Justice Raymond Zondo.
  • The report is scathing of Jacob Zuma, Brian Molefe, Anoj Singh, Matshela Koko and the late Ben Ngubane.
  • The report finds that there was a pervasive culture of corrupt practices, mismanagement and malfeasance that had been inculcated within Eskom promoted by executives and board members since 2014.
  • Zondo has recommended that Molefe, Singh and Koko plus the board presiding over Eskom’s affairs from 2014 should be prosecuted by law enforcement for failing to exercise their fiduciary duties and prevent financial prejudice to the power utility in terms of the Public Finance Management Act.

The report states that R14.7 billion in contracts were improperly awarded, the majority of which were awarded to the Gupta family, the chief architects of state capture in South Africa. The Gupta family now live a life of luxury in Dubai after fleeing the country back in 2016. Read more

Former Eskom Board Chairperson Ben Ngubane testifying at the Commission of inquiry into State Capture. Ngubane passed away after contracting Covid 19 in July 2021. Image credit: SABC

The Eskom board at the time was led by Dr Ben Ngubane and appointed by former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown. The report finds that that the corruption at Eskom had festered after the Ngubane-led board was appointed. Under Ngubane, the Gupta family were able to orchestrated the suspension and appointment of board members to foster their own agenda.

South Africa’s ex-president, Jacob Zuma, features prominently in the report as a Gupta facilitator often interfering directly in operational matters, board meetings and day to day management.

NOVEMBER 3, 2016. Eskom CEO Brian Molefe broke down in tears as he spoke about his relationship with the Guptas and Saxonwold, following a damning public protector report into state capture.Eskom released its interim financial results to end-September 2016 under a cloud as its CEO Brian Molefe has been heavily implicated in the state capture report. Thuli Madonsela. PHOTOGRAPH: ALON SKUY/THE TIMES

“President Zuma’s interference in the affairs of the Board marked the beginning of the implementation of the Gupta’s plan to capture Eskom and President Zuma was a critical player in that plan. After the postponement of the board meeting scheduled for 26 February 2015, a series of meetings aimed at facilitating the capture of Eskom by the Guptas were held.”

Zondo was also scathing of Former Eskom acting chief executive, Matshela Koko, who he describes as an integral component of the Gupta family’s strategy to capture Eskom. Koko was found to be dishonest. He also made comments calculated to mislead and fabricated stories as he professed self-righteous innocence and denied that state capture at Eskom ever happened.

Related news: Eskom looter gets 20 year jail sentence

The capture of the country’s energy utility had a much broader consequence within the organisation. The rot filtered down to all tiers of management. South Africa’s Special Investigating Unit (SIU), an organisation tasked with investigating corruption and fraud in the country’s state-owned organisations, found 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. Read more

Former Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh at the Zondo commission of enquiry into state capture. Image credit: Neil McCartney

Eskom’s latest financial report reveals debt at just under R400 billion. The utility is effectively servicing debt with debt. Read more

The state owned energy utility states that it has proactively set up a project team, supported by its internal and external lawyers, to ensure that the report is reviewed, understood and appropriate actions are taken to address recommendations made therein and to protect Eskom’s interests.

Chairman of the Eskom Board, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba said: “State Capture and its agents caused immense harm to Eskom over many years.  We view the release of the Commission’s report as an important step to ensure that more of those who undermined Eskom are brought to book, and we look forward to working with the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that the miscreants speedily face criminal charges.”

Link to the full Eskom edition of the state capture report HERE

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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