Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)
Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

Parliament set to unravel looting, overpayments at Eskom

By Sihle Mavuso and Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Jul 10, 2020

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Johannesburg - Parliament wants to get to the bottom of the looting at Eskom following the multibillion overpayment to some companies.

Chairperson of the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on public enterprises Khaya Magaxa said on Thursday they would play their oversight role on what happened at the power utility.

Magaxa, an ANC MP, told Independent Media that the committee was mindful of the damage created in almost all state-owned entities (SOEs).

“Hence we were not surprised about the continuous revelations that come out and expose the extent of the problem in these SOEs. We are still confident that state security agencies including the Zondo Commission will ultimately bring credible facts which will lead to the punishment of all those implicated in wrongdoing,” he said.

Magaxa added that they had received a copy of the letter from Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina earlier this week explaining the R4billion overpayments in the construction of Eskom power stations.

Gordhan’s letter stated that ABB South Africa, Tubular Construction Projects, the Stefanutti Stocks Basil Read joint venture and the Stefanutti Stocks Izazi joint venture were each overpaid by R1bn while Tenova Mining and Minerals SA received R735million and various site service contracts not in the scope of the Special Investigating Unit probe got R180m.

“Obviously, the next step will be the committee providing an opportunity to the shareholder (minister) to brief the portfolio committee and members asking questions about it, which will include the question as to how Eskom is going to recover the money,” Magaxa said.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) wants current and former officials accused of collapsing Eskom to be arrested after it emerged that the troubled power utility was gunning for companies and employees implicated in wrongdoing.

“They must be arrested. Eskom is dying and being killed by people in high positions,” NUM general secretary David Sipunzi said on Thursday. This follows Independent Media’s report that Eskom has roped in the SA Revenue Service, the SIU, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority in its pursuit of former employees including executives and suppliers implicated in malfeasance.

Eskom has complained that the nature of the employer-employee relationship was contractual and afforded either party the right to terminate the relationship on notice or with immediate effect in terms of the dictates of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and the Labour Relations Act.

According to Eskom, the BCEA contained no provision that prevented an employee from resigning when faced with disciplinary action or gave employers the power to refuse to accept a resignation.

Between April last year to February this year, 19 employees facing allegations of impropriety and wrongdoing resigned, others during investigations and before disciplinary proceedings commenced.

Sipunzi also weighed in on the planned unbundling of Eskom by 2023, saying unions have not been consulted and would not hesitate to explore if there was no legal recourse to have the plan declared invalid for failure to engage stakeholders.

Political Bureau

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