File photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg
File photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Eskom lays charges against DA

By Chantall Presence Time of article published Jan 21, 2016

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Johannesburg – Eskom said on Thursday that it had laid criminal charges against the Democratic Alliance for contravening the Regulation of Gatherings Act.

The utility claims DA MPs Natasha Mazzone, Kevin Mileham and several supporters arrived at its head office in Johannesburg on Wednesday “without prior approval and proceeded to occupy the reception area in a rowdy manner demanding to see Eskom Group Chief Executive, Mr Brian Molefe”.

Mazzone on Wednesday denied it was a protest, but said the group had arranged with Eskom to hand over a petition demanding that Eskom executives pay back millions of rands in performance bonuses because the utility was not delivering a quality service.

“We have not implemented load shedding for close to five months and we continue to do maintenance on our plant to ensure long-term sustainability,” Eskom retaliated in a media statement.

“It is therefore disturbing to note that a political party could act in a manner that seeks to disturb and derail the focus of a company from doing its core business by keeping it busy with nonsensical petitioning.”

On Wednesday both Eskom and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown lashed out at Mazzone and her party, saying the gathering was “illegal”, “irresponsible”, and “unacceptable”.

“MPs should be conversant with the laws governing protests. Acting in a legal and responsible manner would have required them to request permission from the relevant authorities and notify Eskom before embarking on this reckless action,” Brown said at the time.

Mazzone hit back, insisting the gathering was not a protest but a pre-arranged handing over of a petition of 77,000 signatures.

“The arrangement to receive the petition was made with Eskom Stakeholder spokesperson, Mr Loyiso Jiya,” Mazzone had said.

“On arrival at Megawatt Park today [Wednesday], the MPs approached the security gates and explained they were from the DA and wanted to hand over the petition. The security guards let them in no questions asked.”

She claims Molefe voluntarily made his way down to the reception area to accept the petition.

Eskom indicated it would be laying another charge of fraud at the Sandton police station after its officials found discrepancies in the petition.

“Upon inspection of the petitions, it was most alarming to note that some signatures appear to have been executed by the same person and the petitioners somehow managed to sign the petition on one page in first name alphabetical order,” the utility aid.

“Identity numbers of the signatories are either incomplete or nonsensical (e.g. 780567…, 870431…,723652…) and at least one cell phone number proved to be call centre number of the Financial Services Board.”

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