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Zondo commission to shed light on Eskom capture

Embattled power utility Eskom will be in the spotlight at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on Wednesday.

According to the commission, evidence leader Vincent Maleka SC will on Wednesday put on record documents relating to Eskom.

The Mail & Guardian understands that Eskom has handed over a large volume of documents to the commission. Many of these documents have already been included as part of various other investigations into Eskom.

In November, treasury released a more than 600-page bombshell report detailing the extent of the corruption at the power utility.

A number of former Eskom executives have faced serious allegations of misconduct relating to state capture.

READ MORE: Treasury confirmation — Eskom looting was an inside job

Treasury’s report concluded that former Eskom executives Anoj Singh, Matshela Koko, Suzanne Daniels, Ayanda Nteta and Edwin Mabelane should be investigated by the Hawks for receiving kickbacks in assisting the Guptas to receive a controversial R659-million prepayment to purchase Optimum coal mine from Glencore.

READ MORE: From Dubai to Russia ― how former Eskom and Transnet CFO Anoj Singh was bought

Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources was assisted in buying the coal mine by Eskom using the R659-million pre-payment.

In November last year, former minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi told the Zondo commission that he was sacked as mining minister by former president Jacob Zuma in 2015 for refusing to aid the Guptas in their efforts to buy Optimum Coal Mine.

Ramatlhodi alleged that Eskom’s then chair Ben Ngubane demanded that he take away Glencore’s mining licenses under the guise that the company owed Eskom R2-billion, a decision which would have jeopardised the country’s electricity supply.

“When I got out, a Gupta minister came in,” Ramatlhodi said, referring to Mosebenzi Zwane’s appointment as mining minister.

The entity is seeking legal action to undo the decisions taken by former board members and executives that resulted in R1.6-billion in allegedly unlawful payments being made to Gupta-linked Trillian and McKinsey. McKinsey agreed to pay back R902-million to Eskom in July 2018, but Trillian has remained dogged in its opposition to the bid.

The damage done at the power utility by alleged Gupta allies — including former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe and former public enterprises ministers Malusi Gigaba and Lynne Brown — lost the state company billions, bringing it to the brink of destruction.

Speaking to members of Parliament during the debate of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address last week, Gordhan noted the links between state capture and the recent unexpected power cuts.“As a result of the damage caused by state capture. Eskom’s pride and capacity has been undermined. We are bold enough, brave enough, and frank enough to talk about on one hand,” Gordhan said.

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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