Eskom’s leadership met with the National Prosecutor’s Office at NPA headquarters to brainstorm collaboration on state capture cases “and other organized crimes against Eskom,” the utility said in a statement Thursday.
The meeting, which took place earlier in the day, was attended by the National Director of the Public Prosecutor, the lawyer Shamila Batohi, the CEO of Eskom André de Ruyter, and members of the executive team of the electricity company.
It comes a few days after the Investigation Department (ID) managed to regain control of approximately Rand 1 billion in the assets of Regiments Capital – linked to the alleged looting of Transnet – in the Johannesburg High Court.
The two entities have pledged to enhance their existing collaboration for more effective coordinated responses to serious crimes, including the findings of the State Catch Inquiry Commission, Eskom said. This will include increased information sharing and “high-level operational coordination”, as well as allowing forensic experts and NPA investigators to interact with Eskom wherever possible, especially in complex cases.
“There is appreciation from the NPA and Eskom for the urgency in addressing all crimes that negatively impact Eskom’s ability to fulfill its key task of providing stable and sustainable electricity to guide the prospects of SA’s welfare and economic growth, “Eskom spokesman Sikonathi Mantshantsha said in a statement.
Busy recording cases
“The NPA has pledged to register these cases in the coming months.”
“It is no longer an option to” allow “impunity for these crimes committed against the people,” the statement added.
Eskom said accountability for “those most responsible” was a priority for both entities due to the devastating impact of the state’s capture and other crimes that impacted the utility they were having on the country’s economic prospects. This impact is particularly hard on the poor and vulnerable, she added.
Other crimes such as cable theft and damage to essential infrastructure, which hinder the company’s ability to fulfill its mandate, would be high on the list of priorities.
at the end of last week, Eskom said it has established a project team to address the recommendations of the Zondo Commission.
The project team, which Eskom says is “supported by its internal and external lawyers”, is set to review the report and take “appropriate” actions. This includes studying the contents to identify if anyone implicated is still working at the state power company.
Here comes the latest update among the assurances of the Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan – as well as remembering that load shedding can go up to stage 8 if necessary – that a state of disaster is not necessary for Eskom “for dramatic effects”.
On Thursday, however, Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer called for a review of energy policy, saying that within the next 14 years Eskom will withdraw 22,000 MW – half of what is currently available.