Having laid charges against those involved in the illegal diversion of R3.8 billion from Eskom in 2017, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) welcomed the power utility’s announcement alongside the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to summon the 12 individuals.
On Monday, Eskom and the SIU issued a summons in the Pretoria High Court in order to recover funds from former Eskom executives, former board members, members of the Gupta family and their associates.
Outa chief executive officer (CEO) Wayne Duvenage welcomed the action taken by Eskom and SIU, saying it was “long overdue”.
“This action is long overdue, as both the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom and the Zondo Commission heard testimony on how Eskom was used to facilitate state capture.
“South Africans have long been frustrated by the lack of accountability in government and more specifically in our state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
READ MORE: Eskom move a lesson for government
“Billions of rands meant to improve the lives of ordinary citizens, have been looted by a few connected individuals in SOEs, and today’s news brings hope in a time when we are seeing yet another wave of plundering during the current crisis,” said Duvenage.
Duvenage noted that Outa had laid criminal charges in 2017 against nine of the 12 individuals that Eskom and the SIU were pursuing.
He also said that the organisation also handed a detailed report of its findings and evidence brought to their attention by whistleblowers to the Zondo commission to Eskom and the SIU.
Outa executive director Stefanie Fick said the organisation was looking forward to those involved being prosecuted once all the funds stolen were recovered.
“We have consistently been calling for leadership at SOEs to investigate and prosecute those linked to the Guptas and state capture, as it is their fiduciary duty to act against executives and others who have placed the organisation into financial difficulty and recover the money.
“Consumers can’t keep on footing the bill for what happened at Eskom through continuously increasing electricity prices.
“The looting at Eskom took place over many years, leading to the dire situation the utility finds itself in, and although this is a good first step, we hope the investigation goes deep to expose all the rot. We are looking forward to serious efforts to recover all lost funds and prosecute all those involved in wrongdoing.”
Fick further said Outa also calls on other SOEs and government departments to follow in Eskom’s footsteps and recover looted public funds.
“There are plenty of examples, but the names of Hlaudi Motsoeneng (ex-SABC COO), Tom Moyane (former commissioner of Sars) and Lucky Montana (former CEO of Prasa) are some that come to mind, as do people in government such as Faith Muthambi, Mosebenzi Zwane and past ministers such as Malusi Gigabe and Lynn Brown.
“It is high time that these individuals get prosecuted for their role in bringing our country to its knees,” Fick said.
She reiterated the organisation’s commitment to the fight against corruption and tax abuse.
“We don’t want history to repeat itself, and therefore we offered our help in fighting Covid-19 corruption and holding implicated individuals to account.
“We call on the public to share any information on Covid-19 corruption with us via our secure and anonymous whistle-blower platform. We will then hand over this information to the SIU.”
Last month, Outa brought forward an application for the interim enforcement of the delinquent director court order against former South African Airways (SAA) chairperson Dudu Myeni.
The organisation had argued that the application was to ensure that the delinquency order came into effect and was not suspended by any appeal brought by Myeni.
“On 27 May, the Pretoria High Court declared Myeni to be a delinquent director for life, arising from her conduct as the chair of the SAA board. This is a result of the case brought against Myeni by Outa and the SAA Pilots’ Association (Saapa).
“The declaration of delinquency blocks her from being a director and requires her removal from any directorships.
“At the time of the order, she was still a director of four entities, including the Mangaung metro’s Centlec electricity utility and the Jacob Zuma Foundation. She appears to still hold these positions despite the court order.”