Cape Town – Eskom board chairperson, Mpho Makwana, has hit back at utterances made by the power utility’s former Group CEO, André de Ruyter, saying they were misleading.
Makwana was briefing the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) in Parliament on Wednesday.
De Ruyter made bombshell allegations about corruption at the power utility during an interview with eNCA in February this year, and was released from his position as a result.
In the interview, de Ruyter alleged high-ranking government officials were linked to the corruption and theft that has emptied the utility’s coffers.
However, when he appeared in front of Scopa, he refused to name a minister he linked to the corruption claims, telling parliamentarians that doing so would jeopardise ongoing investigations.
Makwana said following the interview, the Eskom board met with De Ruyter and found that he had brought the organisation into disrepute.
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“A good number of the allegations that were made misled the public as if there were new developments that had been shared firstly with the board, and that was not the case. Secondly, it would have misled the public in indicating as if there was no action taken internally by Eskom and all concerned (sic),” he said.
Makwana explained that following the State Capture Commission’s report into Eskom, a task team had been appointed to deal with issues in that report and take action.
“Since the establishment of that State Capture task team, a lot of disciplinary hearings have occurred inside Eskom. In the public domain, it is known that in the period around late September or mid-October, a good 26 former executives – including a former acting CEO of Eskom – had been arrested and appeared in court in relation to the allegations that were made.
“When Eskom made a statement that there was nothing new [in De Ruyter’s allegations], it is because these matters were already in court, with regard to the 26 executives that had been arrested.”
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Makwana said the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) had also recovered some R1 billion in Eskom funds that were taken from the organisation through illegal activities.
Makwana said beyond the issues cited in the State Capture Commission’s report, the board also asked its internal task team to look for any other issues that might arise.
“We asked the internal State Capture and corruption task team to look further into whether there were any other matters that the board may not be aware of that could not have been cited in all these various documents.
“The board further resolved that it is important, in keeping with our fiduciary duties and responsibilities, that an independent legal panel be appointed, where you could have perhaps a senior counsel or someone senior in the legal profession that could revisit everything that has been done to date by both the internal State Capture task team and any other investigation that Eskom would have done internally, and to look at whether there’s anything further that the board should be doing,” he said
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu