Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/ANA
Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/ANA

Vavi’s union charges Eskom for fraud over ’engineered crisis’

By Kailene Pillay Time of article published Mar 30, 2021

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The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has laid charges of corruption, money-laundering and fraud against Eskom, claiming that the crisis at the power utility was deliberate and engineered.

In a statement issued by Saftu, it claimed that the massive debt of R450 billion and load shedding formed part of a grand scheme to loot and eventually collapse Eskom “while handing over the energy generation to private hands”.

“Saftu insists that load shedding is not the innocent negligence, but has been engineered to create a situation to loot Eskom through overpricing of coal to benefit crooks who have found a new avenue to loot the country dry,” Saftu spokesperson Trevor Shaku said.

The federation added that the signing of the agreements with the “so-called” Independent Power Producers formed part of this grand scheme to privatise Eskom and “hand over the family silver to private interests linked to the ruling party and its friends in the business”. Saftu’s members opened these charges at the Sandton police station on Tuesday.

Commenting on the allegations, Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said that Eskom welcomed the effort to lay criminal charges by all those concerned.

“Eskom hopes those concerned will follow up and provide the necessary evidence of the crimes they are alleging, in order to assist with a speedy prosecution of those implicated,” Mantshantsha told IOL.

In addition to the criminal charges, a 36-page criminal complaint signed by a commissioner of oaths and authored by National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Phillip Vilakazi was also submitted to police in support of opening the case. NUM collaborated with Saftu to lay charges against Eskom.

According to the affidavit, Vilakazi - who accompanied Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi to the police station - alleged that Eskom CEO André de Ruyter and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan have both been “remiss” in promoting cost-effective procurement mandated by their fiduciary positions.

Vilakazi said that it was necessary to institute criminal proceedings against persons or entities that are in the process of “actively undermining” the governance of Eskom, the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and the rights of consumers.

He also suggested that Eskom would be “crippled for decades” and strategically “hobbled” by being coupled to a small number of dominant market players.

Political Bureau

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