File picture: Emsie Ferreira / ANA
Cape Town -  On the final day of Parliament's inquiry into allegations of corruption at Eskom for the year, the chairperson of the power utility’s board, when asked, rated governance at the state-owned entity at 3 out of 10.

This as chairperson of the inquiry Zukiswa Rantho told her colleagues that Eskom was seen as an entity riddled with corruption.

Rantho told the portfolio committee on public enterprises that Eskom had assumed the face of corruption and has become an easy target for those who want to loot state resources.

“Eskom is seen as the most corruptible entity in South Africa. It has a big role to play and a big budget. People who want to misuse the resources of government will see an opportunity in Eskom because of the good budget that is there,” said Rantho.

The probe into allegations of corruption and maladministration at Eskom will adjourn until the middle of January.

Rantho also cautioned that the evidence revealed during the inquiry was symptomatic of serious problems at Eskom.

“During the last few weeks, we have heard evidence from various role players who are involved in Eskom. The evidence presented to the committee to date raises serious allegations of abuse on state resources,” said Rantho.

She said the committee will not at this stage make a final pronouncement on the evidence before it but is of the view that there is sufficient evidence to prompt action to be taken by the minister and the board of Eskom to prevent any further abuse of state resources.

“The committee is gaining a more complete picture of the troubled state of affairs at Eskom. This includes evidence of serious governance failures, the clear abuse of state resources and the misconduct of senior officials,” she added.

She also warned that the process of finalising the inquiry will “touch nerves”.

She said: “It is our duty to touch those nerves so that we get to the bottom of the things that are happening in Eskom,”.

Rantho emphasised that members of parliament who are not cooperating will be subpoenaed to appear before the enquiry and make representations.

Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Ben Martins may find himself in the hot seat despite his previous refusal to appear before the committee.

“It is very unfortunate that our own colleagues did not respect us. Now we will subpoena them. And we will have to start with a member of parliament, one of our own. We were trying to be as soft as possible with the aim to avoid subpoena”, said Rantho.

The committee took the unanimous decision after receiving a letter from him stating that it was not necessary for him to appear before the committee and that a written submission would suffice.

“The committee is dedicated to further interrogate the information and allow those implicated in evidence a fair opportunity to be heard,” she added.  

The committee will apply to Parliament for permission to resume with the inquiry in January before committees begin with their schedules.

Political Bureau