Crime hurting Eskom

Pravin Gordhan

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said that, despite Eskom’s efforts to fight crime at the utility, more needs to be done to root out criminal activity at the state-owned enterprise.

Gordhan recently told Parliament that the situation at Eskom has improved. He said the following interventions have taken place:

  • Governance has improved.
  • More people have been “thrown out” of Eskom that were responsible for the malfeasance that took place.
  • Recommendations of the Zondo Commission are being implemented.
  • Money is being recovered from firms like ABB and others who engaged in malfeasance.
  • People charged by the NPA have trials that should come up shortly.

However, “there’s no doubt that that activity is continuing on one scale or another”, said Gordhan. 

“Far more intensive actions and attention have to be given both within Eskom itself and by Eskom itself where it is within their powers to undertake preventative action.”

He said it is also important for law enforcement authorities to do their part in ridding Eskom of crime.

Fannie Masemola, National Police Commissioner

National Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola recently launched Operation Shanela. 

According to Masemola, this operation aims to tackle organised crime across the country and, in particular, “break the spines of the Eskom syndicates”. 

Operation Shanela has reportedly arrested over 20,000 people since 8 May for various crimes.

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has also spoken about the impact criminal activity has had on Eskom.

He said crime, corruption, and sabotage were a big part of the problem at Eskom and that organised crime syndicates with links to the notorious KwaZulu-Natal construction mafia had infiltrated Eskom’s procurement department.

Ramokgopa said there are criminal activities in Eskom’s procurement division which extends into crime cartels.

South Africa became aware of the extent of criminality at Eskom through the utility’s former CEO, Andre de Ruyter.

De Ruyter warned that crime and corruption at Eskom are deeply entrenched and highly organised.

He said the criminal networks had extended their tentacles to many Eskom workers who sabotage and vandalise power stations on their behalf.

“We know of at least four organised crime cartels operating in Mpumalanga operating in Eskom who steal at least R1 billion per month,” he said.


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