On Thursday, the Board of Directors of Eskom have taken a decision to grant the chief financial officer, Anoj Singh, special leave pending an investigation.
Acting Chairman, Zethembe Khoza said: “We would also like to assure all stakeholders that the company is stable as evidenced by the recent financial results, and will continue delivering on its turnaround strategy.”
The utility said in a statement that Calib Cassim has been appointed interim chief financial officer.
South African public enterprises minister Lynne Brown notes the Board’s decision.
This decision follows earlier reports where Brown confirmed she is on record as supporting the investigation of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) into allegations of corruption reported in the media.
According to the Minister, a thorough investigation is the only way to lift the cloud shrouding State-owned enterprises stemming from allegations of State capture, the South African Government News Agency reported.
“There are no holy grails. The investigators must do their work. The Department [of Public Enterprises] has been instructed to assist the probe by making documents and officials available to the investigation as required,” said the Minister.
[quote]According to Brown, the Ministry of Public Enterprises was incidentally the first member of the executive to call for further investigation into the former Public Protector’s State of Capture Report.
The Minister’s comments come as Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises on Tuesday received briefings from the South African Council of Churches and the State Capacity Research Project on the findings of their respective investigations into allegations of State capture, the news agency reported.
The committee had intended to begin the full inquiry into Eskom at the beginning of August.
The full inquiry into Eskom has moved the start date to the third week of August to allow itself time to thoroughly process the evidence and submissions before it, the news agency added. Read more…
Welcoming this move is the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), who have called for a genuine investigation into his activities.
“Hopefully we’re turning the corner,” says Ted Blom, OUTA’s portfolio director on energy.
Highlighting that this is not a quick fix, Blom said: “The corruption goes right down to power station level, there’s a lot of work ahead.”
“Suspended, retired, resigned, retrenched? Only time will tell,” says Ben Theron, OUTA’s chief operations officer.
Theron added: “We need a genuine, credible investigation into Eskom not a cover up.”
Singh’s suspension follows the recent release of Eskom’s disastrous annual report, which included a qualified audit opinion, OUTA reported in a statement.
The Times reported that Singh was suspended after the Development Bank of South African threatened to recall its R15 billion ($1 billion) loan if no action was taken against Singh and other Eskom officials responsible for the qualified audit opinion.
On Tuesday, OUTA briefed the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises about Eskom’s involvement in state capture and raised concerns about the R3 billion ($231 million) in irregular expenditure in Ekom’s annual report – which merited merely a footnote in the report – and the huge and unexplained increase over the years in costs in power station construction.