Was Eskom load shedding sabotage to usher in Gupta-friendly execs?

2018-11-16 17:28

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A bombshell final investigation report into irregularities and financial mismanagement at state-owned Eskom and Transnet has questioned whether load shedding at the power utility may have been sabotage.

The load shedding may have been deliberate to enable the purging of top executives, so that they could be replaced by those sympathetic to the Gupta family.

National Treasury on Friday published Fundudzi Forensic Specialist’s final investigation report, which consists of three chapters and more than 700 pages in total.

It deals with allegations surrounding state capture at South African parastatals and is devastating in its detail and complexity.

Criminal investigations

It recommends a raft of criminal investigations against key executives and board members involved, as well as key Gupta associates.

One of the key questions asked in Chapter 3 of the Fundudzi report is if load shedding was a sabotage aimed at getting rid of "an un-cooperating [Tshediso] Matona and replacing him with [Brian] Molefe, who perhaps was willing and able to assist certain individuals?"

Based on publicly available evidence on the benefits the Gupta family reaped from Eskom in the years immediately after Molefe’s appointment, this is an obvious reference to the Gupta family.

Matona was Eskom group chief executive between October 2014 and March 2015.

He was replaced by Molefe.

According to the Fundudzi report, investigators found an email dated November 14, 2015, from former group executive for generation Matshela Koko’s laptop to the now infamous email address infoportal1@zoho.com.

Attached was an unsigned document, not on any letterhead, titled "Electricity load shedding review and the way forward".

The infoportal email address, also known as Business Man, emerged in the #GuptaLeaks as a repository of sorts into which confidential information was sent, with the knowledge that it would reach the Guptas.

It has been linked to both former director general for public enterprises Richard Seleke and key Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa. 

Load shedding

"The document… appears to suggest that Eskom management previously made choices that contributed to the load shedding that was being experienced at the time. In its conclusion, the document indicated that the biggest game changer for the dramatic reduction in load shedding incidents had been change in leadership that introduced a much higher motivation and resolve to eliminate load shedding," the Funduzi report reads.

"Looking back at the time of the load shedding, it is apparent that the Eskom executive the document may be referring to, may have been… Matona who saw an unprecedented number of load shedding during his tenure. It is also a known fact that when Molefe took over as Eskom’s acting and later appointed GCE, the load shedding ceased," the report adds.

Matona told investigators "it would not surprise him" if it was established that the load shedding which occurred during his time was sabotage.

Metadata attached to the document shows it was authored by former acting chief procurement officer for Eskom, Edwin Mabelane on November 14, 2015 - a day before Koko sent it on to Infoportal.

Read more on:    eskom  |  brian molefe  |  gupta family

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