EFF takes issue with Jabu Mabuza's 'conflict of interest' at Eskom

2019-02-24 11:24
Jabu Mabuza. (Elvira Wood)

Jabu Mabuza. (Elvira Wood)

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The Economic Freedom Fighters said it wants new Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza to step down following disclosures he made at the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture on Friday.

The EFF on Saturday said Mabuza disclosed a "serious conflict of interest" during his testimony that should have disqualified him from his position at the power utility.

Mabuza, who is currently chairing the new Eskom board tasked with ridding the state-owned entity of impropriety, told the commission on Friday that he had bought 6% of shares in Sphere Investment worth R26m.

He said that upon accepting the position of board chairperson in January 2018 he declared all his interests and resigned from future investment decisions at Sphere. The shares had also been put in a blind trust.

READ: Mabuza testimony at state capture inquiry

"Mabuza told the commission that he is an executive chair of a company that maintains a third of Eskom's boilers," EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement on Saturday.

Ndlozi was referring to Sphere's shares in Babcock and Honeywell, who have contracts with Eskom. The use of a blind trust was not good enough, Ndlozi continued.

"The use of blind trusts by high profile executives in state-owned companies, including political office, is nothing but a web of dishonesty and deception used to hide the conflict of interest and dealings taking place to enrich the few, at the expense of South Africans," Ndlozi claimed.

Mining interest

Mabuza on Friday had also raised another interest in mining that involved his family.

"I am related to my wife by marriage. She is related to Themba Langa who I had a role in raising and the Mabuzas and the Langas have a joint venture in mining," he told the commission.

Mabuza said he does not sit in meetings regarding decisions on the procurement of coal.

The EFF remained adamant that despite the declaration of interests finalised in January 2018, Mabuza's links to the power utility and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) were glaring.

"The collapse of Eskom was due to the appointment of too many individuals who had direct or indirect interests at Eskom.

"This mistake is often repeated, despite concrete evidence of the damage it has brought to Eskom, because the people appointed prioritise their interests at Eskom, instead of those of the public," Ndlozi said.

The party therefore called on Mabuza to step down, like other individuals who also had a conflict of interest.

No further comment

Mabuza's chief of staff Lwanda Zingitwa on Sunday told News24 that, in his testimony on Friday, Mabuza talked to his relationship with Sphere holdings and his resignation upon appointment at Eskom.

Mabuza explained the reasons for that resignation and wished to add nothing more to that detail.

He wished to reiterate that: "Leading up to my appointment as chairman of Eskom and currently as chairman I have never made or approved of any decision that was in my personal interests at the expense of Eskom’s or the public's interest."

Mabuza will continue his testimony at the commission on Monday.

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Read more on:    eff  |  eskom  |  jabu mabuza  |  state capture inquiry  |  tenders

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