Eskom board members have told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) that former CEO Andre de Ruyter left them in the dark concerning investigating corruption at the utility.
Scopa has been meeting with the Eskom board and executive team this week to examine the efforts they are making to investigate the allegations made by De Ruyter following his controversial intelligence report.
The report detailed instances of gross corruption and maladministration at the utility, with two politicians accused of being behind efforts to loot the state-owned enterprise.
However, Eskom’s board said it had still not received a copy of the report and is struggling to conduct its oversight functions.
Claudelle von Eck, an Eskom board member, said that the board could only piece together information from the media.
Part of Scopa’s meeting with the board was to interrogate why it does not have a copy of the report in its possession and why it did not question him before he left the utility.
Von Eck said that the board failed to do this as they expected De Ruyter to conduct his investigation through normal channels and was caught off-guard by his use of covert operatives.
“We still do not have the full picture. We will only have that once we can go through the report,” Von Eck said.
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the Hawks are investigating the report’s allegations but have not announced any progress.
Eskom’s board is in the process of obtaining a copy of the report from the SIU.
Mkhuleko Hlengwa, chair of Scopa, expressed frustration that the board was seemingly abdicating its oversight responsibilities.
“Since their appointment, we do not get a sense that they are moving with the urgency the situation requires”, he said to eNCA.
“We understand that the new board has been thrown into the deep end and needs to find their feet. We are saying that they must do that with urgency as the situation at Eskom is dire”.
Particular attention was paid to the board’s lack of willingness to get access to the intelligence report and the opportunity they wasted in failing to question De Ruyter when he left the utility.
Hlengwa also extended his frustration to law enforcement agencies as there seems to be no effort to investigate De Ruyter’s allegations.
“Law enforcement is letting us down with its lethargic approach to the investigations”.
Scopa is in the process of determining whether a full-scale Parliamentary requirement is warranted.
It has met with the Eskom board and management and will also tour Tutuka power station to examine the utility’s actions to tackle corruption at the station.