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Parliament’s inquiry into allegations of corruption and maladministration at Eskom has started. In her opening remarks, acting committee chairwoman Zukiswa Rantho said the inquiry would comprise three parts: The Eskom inquiry, the Transnet inquiry and the Denel inquiry.

Parliament Eskom inquiry kicks off“This inquiry forms part of Parliament's oversight role and does not replace other legislative processes. No-one should be seen guilty of wrongdoing and anyone accused of said wrongdoings will be given an opportunity to give their version,” she said.

“State capture threatens economic development in South Africa,” Professor Anton Eberhard, author of the Eskom Inquiry booklet, told the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises. “There is much to investigate. Your inquiry risks not investigating the main corruption at Eskom. There is former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe’s pension pay-out, which should not distract from the inquiry.”

Eberhard wants the inquiry to ask Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown why she withheld the Dentons investigation report from the so-called Eskom War Room and Cabinet when the utility’s management was being restructured. The Dentons report, which was released in February 2017 and showed financial abuses at Eskom, was commissioned by the Eskom board in 2015.

In response, ANC MP Zukile Luyenge requested a list of corrupters and ‘corruptees’. “If it is individual practises of people trying to solicit their riches from being a part of this institution, we need to know who these people are. Is it a collective decision by the Eskom board to loot, or is it an individual? We should see the difference,” he said.

According to Eberhard, while there is a lot of information about individual instances of corruption, it is connecting the dots of why certain board members got involved that needs to investigated. “Why did ministers intervene at certain stages? This inquiry will have to ask these important questions.” However, he added that there are many men and women working at Eskom who are extremely good at what they do and are “distraught” at what is happening.

Eberhard also asked why the renewable energy IPP programme was allowed to be suspended in light of Eskom executive Matshela Koko being implicated in colluding with the Guptas on coal contracts. “What kind of interest does Koko have in coal sector that he has not had in the IPP sector? In contrast with what is happening at Eskom, the IPP programme – with 92 projects worth R190bn – has not been implicated with corruption. It is the cleanest programme run by government,” he said.

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