Cape Town - After Cabinet ministers’ initial indifference to responses about Eskom corruption, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has dispelled the perception that little is being done to address grand corruption at Eskom.
He told MPs that the power utility had cancelled R11bn worth of contracts and is pursuing R4bn more from dodgy contractors.
He said through lifestyle audits, Eskom had fired seven officials and, through a separate process, referred 134 officials for disciplinary proceedings relating to conflict of interest cases, finding 67 of these officials guilty.
Gordhan, in a parliamentary reply to EFF MP Rosina Komane, listed a litany of actions by Eskom to address inherent corruption.
Komane inquired about investigative measures that Gordhan had taken to confirm explosive allegations made by former Eskom chief executive André de Ruyter.
Some of the cases Gordhan listed appear to be linked to state capture, including Eskom and SIU’s operation to recover R2bn unlawfully paid to Trillian, Deloitte, ABB, and Meagra Transport CC.
Gordhan made no reference to “cartels” with reported links to Cabinet members.
He said after investigations by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), contracts worth R11bn, relating to the R6.9bn coal supply agreements and R4.1bn build contracts, had been cancelled. Gordhan cited the Gupta-linked Tegeta’s Brakfontein/Majuba coal supply agreement, which was R3.7bn and which has since been declared invalid by the courts.
He said that the cancellation of coal supply agreements related to Brakfontein and Koorfontein prevented a loss of R2.6bn and R5.5bn, respectively. Gordhan said: “Approximately R4.8bn is being claimed against suppliers and former directors of Eskom.”
He said the Special Investigating Unit launched investigations into 14 coal transportation service provider in relation to payments from January 1, 2010 to January 31, 2021.
From these probes five employees were suspended, one resigned in the middle of a grilling by the probing team and one resigned even before the investigation got off the ground.
“The official who resigned during the interview received R3.1m from one of the vendors under investigation,” Gordhan said.
The SIU Tribunal granted an order in October 2021 to freeze R11.5m held in a bank account of an entity, which a senior Eskom official was a signatory, and the official has since been dismissed, the minister said.
He said investigators were focused on 15 criminal investigations and four dodgy diesel suppliers.
Among 5 620 matters referred by the SIU to Eskom for disciplinary proceedings, are:
⦁ 5 464 matters relating to the failure to submit financial declarations, which are integral in preventing and detecting conflict of interest.
⦁ 135 for failing to declare or get approval for doing work outside of Eskom.
⦁ 11 officials were red flagged through lifestyle audits.
⦁ 10 officials implicated in whistle-blower reports.
Gordhan said 334 Eskom officials had been identified as “potentially linked” to vendors that do business with Eskom, with 161 of them “potentially linked” to entities that received payment from Eskom.
This process culminated in 134 officials being referred for disciplinary proceedings relating to conflict of interest.
Gordhan said 116 cases have been finalised, with 67 officials found guilty; 18 not guilty; 19 resigned; four who had retired; and eight of whom who saw charges withdrawn.