Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Sunday called for an independent investigation into all "shady dealings" at electricity parastatal Eskom and the suspension of certain officials pending the outcome of a disciplinary process.
"[Numsa] notes the decision by power utility Eskom to recover billions of rand which were unlawfully paid to consulting firms McKinsey and Trillian in 2016 and 2017," Numsa acting spokesman Phakamile Hlubi said.
"McKinsey has been implicated in potentially corrupt dealings between Eskom and the Gupta-linked firm Trillian. This follows serious allegations of corruption which were levelled against executives at the firm by whistleblower and former CEO Bianca Goodson. Goodson alleged that Trillian earned lucrative consulting fees by allegedly facilitating access to top officials for consulting firms McKinsey and Oliver Wyman. Eskom is seeking to recoup R1.564 billion from McKinsey and Trillian respectively," he said.
Eskom was a never ending story of corruption and state capture. It had admitted to lying to the media when it claimed payments made to Trillian and McKinsey were above board. Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh had been suspended for allegedly defending payments to both these disgraced firms.
"The money which Eskom is demanding from these two entities may be a drop in the ocean. It is possible that these firms received much more in the way of unlawful payments. Furthermore, the board has demonstrated that it is completely impotent and unable to steer the company out of this crisis. Numsa is calling for an independent investigation into all these shady dealings. Those connected to these decisions in any way must be suspended pending the outcome of a disciplinary process," Hlubi said.
That was why Numsa welcomed the decision by the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) to lay charges against Trillian Capital Partners and its directors. Saftu laid charges of fraud, corruption, and money laundering against the firm. The federation was demanding that the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Hawks prioritise a criminal investigation into the company.
"Trillian and all those who may have colluded with Eskom should be brought before a court to answer all the charges. Numsa repeats the call for the Gupta family to be investigated and all allegations regarding state capture to be ventilated in court. Those found guilty must be jailed for corruption," he said.
The Eskom board had demonstrated complete failure of leadership in dealing with problems plaguing the power utility. Former CEO Brian Molefe’s re-appointment and subsequent removal sparked a national scandal. Molefe was re-appointed despite the fact that he was implicated in allegations of state capture by the public protector.
At the same time, the Eskom board was accused of deliberately manipulating the pension process to guarantee Molefe a R30 million rand payout. Acting CEO Matshela Koko faced disciplinary action following allegations of corruption, and Singh had been suspended.
"What is truly shameful is that all these individuals were rewarded with generous bonuses when in fact it seems clear they were acting in their own selfish interests instead of the interests of the public at large," Hlubi said.