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Eskom: Zuma, Molefe, Koko and Singh were key players in...

South Africa

DAYS OF ZONDO, PART FOUR

Eskom: Zuma, Molefe, Koko and Singh branded key players in State Capture 

Illustrative image | Sources: Vapor from cooling towers of the Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. Matla coal-fired power station in Mpumalanga, South Africa on Monday, March 21, 2022. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images) | Adobe Stock)
By Ray Mahlaka
29 Apr 2022 11

Judge Raymond Zondo has put the total cost of contracts at Eskom that have been impacted by State Capture to R14.7bn. Most of this amount has benefitted entities that are linked to members of the Gupta family including Tegeta Exploration and Resources.

Brian Molefe, Matshela Koko, and Anoj Singh are among the former Eskom executives that played a key role in the capture of the power utility and for contracts worth R14.7-billion to be improperly awarded to members of the Gupta family.  

This is a finding made in the Eskom instalment of the State Capture report, which delves into high profile individuals that weakened the governance structures of the power utility. 

Raymond Zondo, the head of the inquiry into State Capture, found that there was a “pervasive culture of corrupt practices, mismanagement and malfeasance that had been inculcated within Eskom promoted by executives and board members since 2014.”

And because of this, Zondo has recommended that Molefe, Koko, Singh and the board presiding over Eskom’s affairs from 2014 should be prosecuted by law enforcement agencies. Zondo said the former Eskom senior executives and board members should be prosecuted for failing “to exercise their fiduciary duties and prevent financial prejudice” to the power utility in terms of the Public Finance Management Act

Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and the power utility’s CFO Anoj Singh during a meeting with Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts on 30 May 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Esa Alexander)

Zondo has put the total cost of contracts at Eskom that have been impacted by State Capture to R14.7-billion. Most of this amount has benefitted entities that are linked to members of the Gupta family including Tegeta Exploration and Resources.

Molefe was officially appointed as the Eskom CEO in 2015, following a stint as the CEO of Transnet, a state-owned rail and freight company. Molefe’s appointment at Eskom, approved by former president Jacob Zuma, was aimed at helping the power utility deal with the problem of load shedding. Singh also left Transnet to join Eskom as the chief financial officer. On the other hand, Koko was a long-time Eskom insider, rising through the power utility’s ranks as an engineer to become a senior executive. 

The Eskom board in question was led by Dr Ben Ngubane and appointed by former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown. Previous State Capture reports have found that Brown was a key ally of the Gupta family, often approving the appointment of compromised board members that are linked to the family at state-owned enterprises including Denel and others. She has denied any wrongdoing. 

 

The State Capture report found that most of the corruption at Eskom had festered after the Ngubane-led board was appointed. Shortly after the appointment of the board, the Gupta family orchestrated the sudden suspension of Eskom’s top leadership including CEO Tshediso Matona, finance director Tsholofelo Molefe,  group capital executive Dan Marokane, and Koko, who was the technology and commercial executive.

The executives faced an investigation relating to the poor performance of Eskom’s generation plants, delays in bringing the new generation plant on stream, and the power utility’s cash flow challenges. But the State Capture report found the suspensions of the four Eskom executives were organised by the Guptas, “their associates” and former president Zuma.

While all the Eskom executives were later cleared of wrongdoing by the investigation, only Koko was allowed to return to Eskom.  Zondo’s report found that the Guptas intended for Koko to return to Eskom as he was an “integral component of the Gupta family’s strategy to capture” the power utility. 

“The aim of the suspension of the executives was, except with regard to one executive, namely Mr Koko, to remove persons who occupied certain strategic positions at Eskom who the Guptas did not think would co-operate with them in their agenda to capture Eskom,” the report said. 

Zuma meddles in Eskom operations 

In the latest instalment of the State Capture report, Zuma is mentioned about 150 times in the two specific volumes on Eskom. The report found that Zuma often interfered in Eskom operations, its day-to-day management and when board meetings could be held — something that Zondo has described as “unlawful”.

In one instance, Zuma ordered a crucial Eskom board meeting, scheduled for 26 February 2015, to be postponed. 

“In calling both the Acting Director-General and the Chairperson of the Eskom Board to secure the postponement of the meeting of the Eskom board, president Zuma interfered in the running of the affairs of the Board of Eskom. That was unlawful because he had no power to decide when the Board could hold its meetings nor had he any power to dictate what matters the Board could discuss or not discuss in any of its meetings.”

Former Transnet acting chief financial officer Anoj Singh. (Photo: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lerato Maduna) | Atul Gupta. (Photo: Gallo Images / Financial Mail / Robert Tshabalala) | Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe. (Photo: Gallo Images / City Press / Lucky Nxumalo)

According to the State Capture report, the postponement gave the Gupta family more time to cook a plan to get rid of Eskom’s top leadership.

“President Zuma’s interference in the affairs of the Board marked the beginning of the implementation of the Gupta’s plan to capture Eskom and President Zuma was a critical player in that plan. After the postponement of the board meeting scheduled for 26 February 2015, a series of meetings aimed at facilitating the capture of Eskom by the Guptas were held.

“Later events suggest that the Guptas probably did not want certain matters to be discussed and decided by the Board while the Chairperson of the Board was [Zola] Tsotsi because they must have felt that he was no longer co-operating with them. They wanted to have Tsotsi removed first and their own associate, Dr [Ben] Ngubane, to be appointed as Chairperson of the Board.”  DM/BM

 

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All Comments 11

  • so what does anyone think will happen ?
    A bit like me wondering if the potholes in the road and destroyed/neglected pavements in Ekurhuleni will be fixed
    or if bylaws stopping cooking happening on the pavements in Germiston town centre will be enforced.
    I guess very little and I guess Cyril would be shocked if some one showed him before and after pictures of what a slum his parties mis governance of the East Rand has resulted in
    Sorry, I drove around today and shook my head in embarrassment of what our city looks like

    • All the town business districts are trashed. The used to such a mix of business. I used to use Germiston instead of JhB for tax and a whole of errands. Last time I went there it looked like it had closed down, one filthy shopping complex and not much else that would pay business tax.

  • And there we have it… The elders of our (ANC led) country have taught us well.
    Don’t have any morals.
    Don’t give a damn about your fellow man, your voters, your people.
    Do everything for your own personal gain.
    Never show any remorse, ever. Keep on blaming someone else for your selfish, myopic and prehistoric stalinist kleptocratic pseudo governance.
    Do not entertain any vision for a cohesive and equitable future for South Africa and our region.
    Only put people in charge that adhere to the above principles. Forget about skills, planing or growth. This is only for cronies…
    Eish

  • R14.7 billion is a number that could be beyond comprehension and we may have to contextualise it.
    Let us assume that an RDP house could be built for R 100 000 and that it takes ten workers 5 weeks to build a house, this gives us 50 man weeks, half a man year, of employment per house.
    Using these assumptions, one million rand would yield ten houses and 5 man years of employment.
    So for the stolen R14.7 billion we could have built 14 700 houses and create 7 350 man years of direct employment.
    These houses could uplift families and stimulate demand for fencing, carports, paving, washing lines, etc, allowing the money multiplier effects to stimulate and grow the economy.
    But instead this money got trapped by luxury vehicles, palatial homes, fashion accessories and other luxury toys, for the Lads from Loot Truly House and their relatives and kin to live like rock stars.
    This is in my opinion how the Lads from Loot Truly House have managed to destroy the lives, employment, dreams and aspirations of a nation, except for the purveyors of luxury toys.
    There could be huge public dissent when the disrespected, downtrodden masses, in their desperate situations, finally begin to understand that their circumstances could have been caused by this unfettered looting.
    The only feature on par with this level of looting is the absolute arrogance of the Looters, safe in the protection provided by Loot Truly House, to still walk amongst us as if they are the persecuted innocents.

    • The biggest pity about this comment is that the only people that will read this are the people that know what you’re writing about. Something like this should be shoved under the nose of every ANC member and voter until they actually show and understand the consequences of their actions. By the way, you quote the number of R14,7 billion as the Eskom loss. That is only the accounted for portion. I believe that Eskom alone was hit by fraud of R200 billion plus.

  • Funny place – this country called South Africa!
    That poor bugger – who spat into an icecream at McDonalds last year, hoping to extort R 150,000 from his employer – is already in the chookie. For the next 10 years!! But all those big whigs – daily named (shamed???) in this last vestige of truth in SA, the Daily Maverick – they’re still out there. Living the life. And Ms. Gumede is even getting a real come-back! Ace is up and fighting for his position come the “big conference”… Hey – let’s be fair: Cyril – seeing this skewed justice – you should pardon the ice-cream-spitter. After all – he only WANTED money, he never really took anything… !

  • Funny place – this country called South Africa!
    That poor bugger – who spat into an icecream at McDonalds last year, hoping to extort R 150,000 from his employer – is already in the chookie. For the next 10 years!!Not even a year since his crime! Swift Justice!
    But all those big whigs – daily named (shamed?) in this last vestige of truth in SA, the Daily Maverick ! They’re still out there. Living the life. And Ms. Gumede is even getting a real come-back! Ace is up and fighting for his position come the “big conference”… Zuma is sitting in his taypayer-funded Nkandla – and laughing. Meanwhile – the Big Steal continues – the old thieves are still out there.

    Hey – let’s be fair: Cyril – seeing this skewed justice – you should pardon the ice-cream-spitter. After all – he only WANTED money, he never really took anything… ! And the others thieves – they’re coming back! Soon! Because you’re doing nothing about them … 🙁

  • This comment doesn’t need to be approved, that’s okay, I just need to say F*** ZUMA AND ALL THOSE CORRUPT *****. Sorry to the person who needs to read this during approval, but yussis those people are traitors and I just can’t keep this anger in anymore.

    • You are not the only one feeling this outrage, there’s many of us but the arrogant fools running this country just don’t give a hoot! not even to mention the arrogance of the corrupt looters!

  • Is the NPA still operating? What more evidence do they need to prosecute the mind numbing number of thieves named in the Zondo report?

  • 14,700,000,000 is a fraction of what was stolen at just Eskom. The economic damage is in turn a multiple of the amounts stolen.

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