‘Impunity no longer an option’ – Eskom, NPA ramp up team effort to crack state capture cases

Eskom leadership has met with the National Director of Public Prosecutions at the NPA head office to brainstorm collaboration on state capture cases “and other organised crimes against Eskom”, the utility said in a statement on Thursday. The meeting, which took place earlier in the day, included National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Shamila Batohi, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter, and members of the power company’s executive team. It comes just days after the Investigating Directorate (ID) managed to regain control of some R1 billion in Regiments Capital assets – linked to the alleged looting of Transnet – in the Johannesburg high court. The two entities have undertaken to improve their existing collaboration for more effective coordinated responses to serious crimes, including the findings of the State Capture Commission of Inquiry, Eskom said. This will include increased information sharing and “high-level operational coordination”, as well as letting the NPA’s legal experts and investigators engage with Eskom where possible – especially in complex cases. “There is an appreciation by the NPA and Eskom for the urgency in dealing with all the crimes negatively impacting Eskom’s ability to deliver on its key task to provide stable and sustainable electricity to drive SA’s well-being and economic growth prospects,” Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said in a statement. Committed to enrolling cases”The NPA has committed to enrolling 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 because of the devastating impact of state capture and other crimes impacting the utility were having on the country’s economic prospects. This impact is particularly hard on the poor and vulnerable, it added. Other crimes like cable theft and damage to essential infrastructure – which hamper the utility’s ability to deliver on its mandate – would also be top of the list of priorities. Late last week, Eskom said it had set up a project team to tackle recommendations by 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” action. This includes studying the contents to identify whether anyone implicated is still working at the state-owned power company.The latest update comes amid reassurances from Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan – alongside a reminder that load shedding may go up to stage 8 if necessary – that there is no need for a state of disaster for Eskom “for dramatic effect”. Earlier on Thursday, however, Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer called for an overhaul in energy policy, saying that within the next 14 years, Eskom will retire 22 000 MW – half of what is currently available.