Outa calls for judicial commission into Eskom in wake of Dentons report
Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse says South Africans deserve to know what caused the near collapse of the power entity and why it Eskom chose to hide the report
After reading the report on Eskom by law firm Dentons, which the Financial Mail published online, Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) called for a full judicial commission into the power utility.
"South Africans deserve to know what caused the near collapse of the power entity in 2008, and also why Eskom chose to hide the report from the public," Outa’s portfolio director of energy, Ted Blom, said in a statement on Friday morning.
"We demand a full investigation of the apparent lack of oversight exercised by the Eskom board, and furthermore, the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) needs to answer some tough questions regarding their lack of action with regards to apparent obvious corruption and maladministration within Eskom."
Outa said that while Eskom paid R20m for the report, it denied the multinational law firm Dentons access to vital information needed to complete it.
"Eskom’s conduct in trying to keep the report under wraps and eventually giving in to pressure is in itself an act of unacceptable conduct and a lack of transparency to the citizens of SA," Blom said.
"Of greater concern was Eskom’s release of the report in a redacted format. Fortunately, good investigative journalism uncovered and released the uncensored version to the public."
Outa said that "for those well versed in Eskom’s misdemeanours", it was clear the Dentons report only dealt with a portion of what needed to be uncovered.
"For instance, the report points to poor coal procurement practices, but then ignores the fact that this was the result of a board decision taken in 2001," Blom said.
While the report alluded to Eskom’s extremely poor project management skills and lack of capacity, it failed to quantify the effect of this on the construction of Medupi, Kusile and Ingula — three long overdue power plants that have resulted in massive cost and time overruns.
"Judicial sanction of the report is especially important now that Eskom seeks to embark on new nuclear power plants, as this has the potential to be an even greater fiasco and a waste of the consumers’ and taxpayers’ money," Outa said.