Editorial: Eskom — Nail the big guys

2017-11-26 07:18

Revelations coming out of the parliamentary inquiry into the fiasco at power utility Eskom are worrying for our democracy.

The country has been gripped with the shenanigans at Eskom for some time now. Now and then new revelations emerge, but it seems nothing gets done to those implicated in wrongdoing.

It is more than a year since then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her State of Capture report, detailing how corruption was engineered into the DNA of Eskom – in its board and executives – to benefit President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, and the Gupta family.

Within weeks of taking over as acting chief executive, it emerged that Matshele Koko’s stepdaughter had benefited handsomely from contracts in the division he headed.

Then the #GuptaLeaks further revealed the extent of corruption and how the power utility’s board and executives bent over backwards for the Guptas.

The irony of all these revelations has been the relaxed attitude of our law enforcement agencies towards the Eskom corruption scandal, which has seen billions of rands disappear without anyone being held to account. The ongoing inquiry into Eskom not only affords us insight into the extent of the rot, it also allows us to ask serious questions about accountability and responsibility. Why are our agencies failing to deal harshly with those who fleece the public purse for their own benefit and that of their friends and accomplices?

Bombshells were dropped at the hearings on how the board tossed out good practice and integrity, and worked hard to benefit individuals connected to political power. There were bizarre revelations of interference by former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni – clearly acting at the behest of Zuma and the Gupta family – into the affairs of the Eskom board.

Most disturbing of all have been the disclosures about the hands-on role that Zuma and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown allegedly played in facilitating the Guptas’ capture of South Africa’s most important state utility. If there is truth to these allegations – which have been corroborated by witness after witness – these individuals not only violated their oaths of office but also engaged in criminal activity.

When law enforcement agencies wake from their slumber and properly probe this sordid saga, they must not to stop at the foot soldiers of state capture. The political principals must also be in their sights.

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May 19 2019