Eskom head to set out what went wrong

Date: 22 Feb 2019

ESKOM chairperson Jabu Mabuza will take the stand today at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

He is expected to open up about the state of the utility since he and his board took over in January last year.

Eskom is the first state-owned entity to be scrutinised by the commission, with Transnet and Denel being some of the other companies that are also lined up.

Mabuza is expected to tell the commission about the extent of the rot at Eskom when he was appointed and what his board and executives have since done to address the crisis at the utility.

Advocate Vince Maleka of the legal team said the commission had already received a detailed statement from Mabuza with regard to his testimony today and Monday.

“We thought it was important to begin with him because he was appointed on the clear premise of ‘cleaning up’. We have written to Eskom, identifying specific issues that the board led by him had to deal with.

“We thought a board of that sort, when it comes in to clean up, must tell you what it found when it got there, what steps it took to clean up and where it is in terms of its clean-up exercise,” he said.
Eskom was one of the state-owned enterprises which were most affected by Gupta-linked state capture allegations, with its top executives implicated in allegations of facilitating the looting of millions from the utility.

Maleka said while the commission would not duplicate investigations into Eskom by other bodies, it would review the investigations and findings, in what he called gap analysis.

The reports include the one compiled by Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises and the public protector’s report into state capture.

“If we come to the conclusion that more needs to be done, we will engage in that exercise of re-interrogating the findings by reason of presenting further evidence to make sure that, by way of some compounded form, they can resist any form of challenge,” said Maleka.

He said the second form of gap analysis would involve transactions linked to state capture which had not been investigated before, adding that the commission’s investigators had already uncovered some of the transactions at Eskom.

“One of those second category gaptype transactions relates to something called Huarong. It is a transaction which we have not come across in any of the prior investigations, but upon investigation we were quite satisfied that it was affected by allegations of state capture,” he said.

Eskom executive Thabo Mashego will be the second witness on Tuesday. He will give evidence on the Brakfontein Optimum Coal mine which was controversially acquired by Gupta-owned Tegeta in 2015.

“The introduction of Tegeta to that mine arose in 2015 and in circumstances that were worrisome. It was given preferential treatment in relation to due diligence questions that Eskom always undertakes to make sure that a supplier of that kind would meet its contractual requirements,” Maleka said.

By Siviwe Feketha -

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