Eskom chairman Mpho Makwana has dismissed reports that up to 80% of Eskom staff are corrupt, saying it is impossible.
Makwana was commenting on a Financial Mail report citing the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) engagement with public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan.
The union reportedly met with Gordhan on 30 January and shared information on how corruption was destroying the institution. They had two key messages.
- Load-shedding is a direct result of corruption at Eskom.
- Between 70% and 80% of Eskom’s 42,000 employees are engaged in some sort of corrupt activity.
It echoed the views of former Eskom generation executive Rhulani Mathebula, who said fraud and corruption are the power utility’s biggest problems.
Mathebula said the impact of fraud and corruption is felt throughout the company and undermines any effort by the great engineers and other staff at Eskom.
The problems include people stealing coal and diesel, damaging plants to get maintenance contracts, and delivering the wrong spares and equipment.
Because of corruption and fraud, there are significant delays in awarding contracts and “shady service providers” who do very poor work are employed.
“Fraud and corruption are the biggest enemies of progress at Eskom. It is the most important issue to fix Eskom to get the maintenance program back on track,” Mathebula said.
Impossible for 80% of Eskom employees to be corrupt – Eskom chairman
Makwana told Newzroom Africa’s Xoli Mngambi that it is impossible for 80% of Eskom’s employees to be corrupt.
He said the Eskom executive team led by Andre de Ruyter went to the state capture commission to present what was being done to address corruption at the company.
What emerged was that the commission applauded Eskom for the proactive work they have done to address fraud and corruption.
Eskom established a state-capture task team to clean up any remnants of wrongdoing they come across.
“Because of the task team, three former Eskom board members have been arrested, and two have had assets forfeited,” Makwana said.
“Two former Eskom chief executives are in court, and a former chief financial officer has been stripped of his rights as a chartered accountant.”
He added that many other former executives had been reported to the Companies And Intellectual Property Commission (CPIC) for them to be deemed as delinquent directors.
An independent law firm has also been working with Eskom to create an internal intelligence unit to tackle corruption.
Another anti-corruption measure is that no Eskom board member is allowed to do business with the company.
It is extended to third-party reviews to ensure a person close to the board member is not doing business with Eskom.
“We want to have a board leadership and executive leadership who are above reproach in any way you can look at it,” he said.