Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza testified at the state capture inquiry taking place at The Hill on Empire in Parktown. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Former Eskom interim chief executive Sean Maritz emerged as one of the implicated individuals who are set to be subpoenaed to appear before the Zondo Commission into state capture.

Maritz, who was suspended last year for signing off on a questionable R340million payment from Eskom to a Hong Kong bank account, resigned a week before his disciplinary hearing.

This comes as the commission, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, is continuing with its probe of fraud and corruption allegations relating to the embattled power utility.

On Friday Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza, testified that the utility was crippled to near collapse by the time he and his board were appointed, due to corruption and state capture.

“There was a lot of graft and a lot of malfeasance.

“Indeed it was the main theatre where corruption and state capture were taking place, so the morale was low and people were not too proud to be associated with the organisation,” Mabuza said.

Mabuza accused Maritz of hiding information about the controversial payment, which was deposited to a company named Huarong, when he and current Eskom chief executive Phakamani Hadebe asked for a debriefing when they took over.

“We are meeting him in his office and I ask him to take us through all the things that he thinks we should be aware of.

“He tells us everything, but he does not tell us that barely three days before we arrived he had signed these documents committing Eskom to these amounts.

“For us to only know a few weeks later that these documents are alive as recent as when we were talking to him, we felt it was serious enough to suspend him,” Mabuza said.

He said the payment to Huarong, which was pushed by the previous board under Zethembe Khoza, was a facilitation fee for a loan of about $1.5billion (R30bn) for Eskom from another China-based company.

Mabuza said when the new board took over, funders drew a line in the sand that they would not put money into Eskom under its then leadership due to its implication into alleged impropriety.

He said the board had to reassure investors, appoint executives, go ahead with disciplinary hearings against officials implicated in graft and ensure issues of procurement were addressed as they, he said, had become the gateway to looting at the utility.

“It is called corruption.

“The name is corruption but the game is procurement. What we see and call corruption is what happens in the procurement of goods and services in the public sector.

“We have come to see it in a number of manifestations at Eskom,” Mabuza said.

The commission’s legal team has called on Zondo to invoke his powers to compel individuals implicated in state capture but who have so far refused to respond to allegations against them.

Advocate Vincent Maleka said Maritz must be brought before the commission to provide his version.

Political Bureau