Following Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane’s denial on Tuesday that the power utility didn’t unnecessarily withhold information from the public by not releasing the contents of the controversial Dentons inquiry, demining details from the law firm’s report have now emerged.
The report, commissioned in an effort to get to the bottom of the power utility’s load shedding problems, reveals details about inflated coal deals and allegations of corruption and poor decision making by the parastatal’s top executives.
On Tuesday Eskom announced that a “blacklined” version of the interim report would be released to a handful of individuals who applied for access in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), after sustained public pressure.
The Financial Mail reported on Thursday about details of family dealings and self-inflicted load shedding on Eskom’s part found by the US law firm in the May 2015 report submitted to the power producer’s board.
It reportedly implicates executives and top managers who allegedly diverted contracts for personal enrichment. They included coal and logistics deals.
The report also questioned the logic behind Eskom’s decision to implement load shedding, resulting in a near-operational meltdown at the utility in 2008 when the country was plunged into darkness and the local economy lost billions of rands.
The high-stakes probe was, however, never finished after the board said it accepted a trade-off and decided to fix the organisation as quickly as possible instead of dragging out the Dentons investigation.
The names of the executives implicated in the document were redacted from all who saw it and then apparently destroyed.
The trade-off has paid off, Ngubane said, and it has used the recommendations to implement Eskom’s turnaround strategy. Thirteen of the 18 recommendations in the report have been implemented.
– Additional reporting by Ingé Lamprecht