Advocacy groups want the whole truth, not just McKinsey’s version

Protesters want a full probe into McKinsey's actions in South Africa.
Protesters want a full probe into McKinsey's actions in South Africa.

Johannesburg - Clean government advocacy groups Save South Africa and Future SA said on Tuesday it is increasingly clear that only a full, independent investigation will get to the bottom of the corrupt relationship between Eskom, global consultancy McKinsey and Gupta-linked advisory firm Trillian.

“This has been confirmed by the hollow nature of McKinsey’s own internal report on the relationship, released in the dead of last night, which has a significant number of shortcomings and smokescreens, and several unidentified fall guys,” the Save SA said.

On Tuesday McKinsey admitted it has found violations of its professional standards, as its probe into the firm neared completion. But it denied that it had been involved in any acts of bribery or corruption, or had made payments to Trillian.

In a statement, McKinsey said it has never made payments directly or indirectly to secure contracts, nor has it aided others in doing so. It also stated the firm did not introduce Trillian to Eskom, or vice versa.

Save South Africa said McKinsey simply defined its participation in the R1.9bn looting spree as “an error of judgement” and repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

“If nothing else, McKinsey has confirmed the need for a proper, legally binding investigation, and for criminal charges to be laid against all those in the wrong.”

Civil society group Future SA, meanwhile, said that while it welcomed McKinsey's statement, "it comes a little too late". 

"McKinsey must help authorities investigate the conduct of its employees or former employees on the Eskom contract. It’s not for McKinsey to tell South Africa that nothing unlawful happened. It’s for the authorities to do so," Future SA said in a media release. 

Proper, independent probe needed

Save South Africa said only an independent, legally binding inquiry will expose the whole truth.

Such an investigation, Save South Africa believes, will reveal the circumstances surrounding the "unlawful" R1.9bn in payments Eskom made to McKinsey and Trillian, what “work” was done to justify this amount, and the real relationship between McKinsey, Trillian, Salim Essa and the Guptas as well as the other “opportunities” that arose out of the relationship.

“At the moment, we only have a series of 'he said, she said' versions of events, each tailored to suit the needs of those doing the talking - whether Eskom, McKinsey or Trillian.”

Save South Africa said it appreciates that McKinsey has done some of its internal homework. “But it’s now over to Parliament, law enforcement bodies and other agencies to do a proper job.”

The group said its fellow civil society organisation Corruption Watch has already approached US authorities to initiate an investigation into money-laundering and corruption at McKinsey.

McKinsey may think it has done enough by showing what it wants South Africa to know, Save South Africa said. 

“But we insist: we want to know it all,” the group concluded. “Only then will we be able to truly unravel the corrupt private and state-owned companies that have become a hallmark of the Zuma-Gupta state capture enterprise – and send all the crooks to jail.”

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