UPDATE | Eskom suspends senior manager after SIU freezes R11 million in bank account

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  • The SIU has been granted an interim order to freeze R11 million held in a bank account linked to senior Eskom manager Petrus Mazibuko.
  • The unit said it started investigations into the bank account after being approached by an unnamed whistleblower.
  • Eskom has placed Mazibuko on preliminary suspension. 

Eskom has placed senior manager Petrus Mazibuko on preliminary suspension, after the Special Investigating Unit started proceedings to freeze R11 million held in a bank account linked to him. 

Mazibuko is a senior manager in the power utility's coal operations.

In a statement on Friday, the SIU said that the Special Tribunal had granted an interim order pending argument and determination for final forfeiture of the bank account. The tribunal is mandated to recover public funds from corruption and fraud.

Eskom said on Friday that Mazibuko still had to undergo a disciplinary process. "The utility will do everything it can to weed out corrupt elements from within its workforce and suppliers," it said. 

Whistle-blower tip-off 

According to the SIU, it started investigations into the bank account after it was approached by an unnamed whistle-blower.

The allegations concerned claims that Mazibuko received "unauthorised gratification" from Eskom suppliers Commodity Logistix Managers Africa and Thembathlo Pty Ltd, through a bank account held by a group called Thephunokhetja Projects.

"As part of the investigation, the SIU obtained the bank statements as well as the account opening documents from the First National Bank," it said. 

"The documents show that Petrus Mazibuko and Shadrack Mazibuko, who is cited as the second respondent, are the signatories to the bank account. Furthermore, the bank statements show that the only source of income into this account is from the two Eskom suppliers."

The group did not say who Shadrack Mazibuko was. 

The unit said that its probe uncovered no evidence that could "point to a proposition that Thephunokhetja Projects rendered services or was legally entitled to claim for goods or services rendered to either Commodity Logistix Managers Africa and Thembathlo Pty Ltd".

It added there was no "evidence or explanation" that the funds held in Thephunokhetja Projects bank account were anything but an "unauthorised gratification".

"The SIU investigation also revealed that Petrus Mazibuko has not obtained any written authority to do work outside of his Eskom employment, or to receive any remuneration in addition to his Eskom salary," it said. 

"This is a violation of Eskom’s conflict of interest policy requiring all employees to annually disclose their interests.

"The unit said it had referred the evidence it collected to the power utility to "suspend Mazibuko pending the finalisation of investigation".

Update: This article has been updated tp include comment by Eskom 

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