Eskom must account before Parliament for alleged nuclear pay-offs

The DA will today write to the Chair of Chairpersons to request that Eskom is urgently summoned to appear before Parliament, to account for the damning allegations that the entity has paid off anti-nuclear research groups.
According to a report released by amaBhugane, Eskom has allegedly paid the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) millions of rands in exchange for their silence on government’s nuclear aspirations.
These two research groups have in the past been among the most critical voices against the nuclear deal, and if these allegations are true, two well respected South African research foundations have been discredited because of greed and corruption.
This sets a very dangerous precedent for the lengths that Jacob Zuma’s government will go to, to force a nuclear deal through. This also shows that the government is not rolling out the nuclear option in good faith at all, but seemingly stooping to depths of “paying off” opponents to nuclear.
These allegations are serious and are indicative of the alleged rot of corruption that has captured our government and state entities.
Parliament must now investigate these allegations. At a time when the “nuclear question” is of national importance, we cannot allow Eskom to allegedly pay off opposing voices.
The DA will continue to fight against the onslaught of state capture that is so devastatingly impacting our economy already, and will only impoverish our country.

Eskom Must Halt All Work on the Nuclear Deal Immediately

The Court ruling today by the Western Cape High Court is a victory for all South Africans. The Court’s findings have greatly narrowed government’s ability to legitimately procure additional nuclear capacity.
The DA will now work to ensure that Eskom halts all work on the nuclear procurement process and will seek to guarantee that no Request for Proposal (RFP) is issued. Any attempts by Eskom to subvert the decision of the court will be challenged by the DA.
What does this mean for government’s nuclear deal?
Simply put, it means that there is no legal decision by government to procure nuclear – nuclear procurement is halted.
The Court has ruled that all Requests for Information (RFI) and potential RFPs pursuant to the outdated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and Section 34 Ministerial Determinations are set aside with immediate effect. This means that Eskom must cease all work being done on nuclear procurement with immediate effect.
The judgement also suggests that future Section 34 Ministerial Determinations will be subject to public participation and require that all necessary information regarding the determination be made publically available – this would include costing and affordability assessments. We welcome this order as it will ensure much needed transparency over nuclear procurement going forward.
The court has argued that the necessary procurement processes and procedures were not completely followed. The Energy Minister and National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) were supposed to finalise the amount of nuclear and process beforehand. The following three points came out of the verdict:
• The Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between Russia and South Africa for 9600MW has been set aside.
• Deals with South Korea and USA have also been set aside.
• The Section 34 determination made in 2013 by the previous Minister of Energy, Miss Joemat-Pettersson, to procure nuclear power has also been set aside as unlawful and unconstitutional.
The fight to block nuclear now returns to Parliament and the DA will use all powers at its disposal to block this unaffordable and corrupt deal.

Molefe Payout: Eskom board's new proposal to Brown must be R0.00

The DA welcomes Public Enterprises Minister Lynn Brown’s rejection of an exorbitant and unjustified R30 million golden handshake “pension” payout to the disgraced Brian Molefe.
Indeed, after leaving Eskom under the most swirling clouds of state capture allegations, and close collusion with the Guptas, and then being rewarded with an ANC seat as a member of parliament, Mr. Molefe does not deserve one further Rand from the public purse.
The DA calls upon the Eskom board to revert to Minister Brown with a new proposal for Brian Molefe’s golden handshake to be R0.00
Saving over R30 million at Eskom would be a boost to the finances of the utility, at a much-needed time.
Eskom continues to be embroiled in a sequence of very alarming scandals, and a full clean up of the entity is needed. We hope that Minister Brown will use the new backbone she has found to reject Molefe’s massive payout, to take actions against other wrongdoing at Eskom too.
She must immediately release the full Denton Report, and sack those who are corrupting Eskom. Minister Brown would also do well to take a stand against the nepotism scandal between Eskom acting CEO Matshela Koko, his stepdaughter, and the shocking payment of R1,7 million directly to the ANC as a “donation.”
Brian Molefe does not deserve anything further from Eskom, and it is high time the Minister got management and leadership at the utility in order.

Tegeta Exploration & Resources will be the first big test of Malusi Gigaba’s political backbone

Note to Editors: Please find correspondence between National Treasury and Tegeta Exploration & Resources (Pty) Ltd relevant to the report discovered as a result of a request for access to information, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (No. 2 of 2000), submitted by DA Shadow Minister of Finance David Maynier MP here.
The Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba’s, first big test is going to be his handling of National Treasury’s final report on the review of coal contracts entered into by Tegeta Exploration & Resources (Pty) Ltd and Eskom.
The draft report reportedly finds inter alia that there was no evidence that the advance payment was used for its mining operations and recommends that the R659 million be converted to a loan with interest payable by Tegeta Exploration and Resources (Pty) Ltd.
The controversy surrounding the report is not new and exploded last year when Tegeta Exploration & Resources (Pty) Ltd threatened to apply for an urgent interdict to prevent National Treasury handing me a copy of the report, which I had requested in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (No. 2 of 2000).
In a letter, dated 23 June 2016, Tegeta Exploration & Resources accused National Treasury of trying to defame their business as follows: “…your efforts to obtain our feedback on the request of Mr Maynier must be seen as an unwarranted attempt to obtain approval to publish your report to a political party with the motive of defaming our business with facts not tested or commented on.”
And Tegeta Exploration & Resources went on to threaten National Treasury as follows: “We will consider obtaining further legal advice in launching an urgent application to interdict you from releasing the report until it has been subjected to scrutiny of all parties concerned.”
Tegeta Exploration & Resources (Pty) Ltd and Eskom clearly have something to hide and have worked hard to frustrate and delay the review conducted by National Treasury.
This matter has gone on for too long and it is now imperative that the report be completed, made public and that action be taken against Tegeta Exploration & Resources (Pty) Ltd and Eskom.
I have, despite numerous requests for access to the report, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, (No. 2 of 2000), been unable to obtain a copy of the report from National Treasury.
The reply is always the same: “Your request has been assessed and it has been established that the report is not yet finalised. Some technical information was received from Eskom and this necessitated the appointment of experts to assist in reviewing it. The report will be released once the experts have completed the review process.”
However, I have not given up and on 05 April 2017 I submitted a further request for access to the report, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (No. 2 of 2000), to National Treasury.
The handling of the final report will be the first test of the minister’s willingness to stand up to his political master, Jacob Zuma, and his most important clients, the Guptas, who control Tegeta Exploration & Resources (Pty) Ltd.

Eskom seeks exemption from nuke procurement regulations

The DA has been reliably informed that Eskom has applied to the National Treasury Chief Procurement Officer (CPO), Schalk Human, for an exemption from the Standard for Infrastructure Procurement and Delivery Management (SIPDM) – the prescribed procurement standard applicable to the nuclear acquisition.
This is an apparent bid to accelerate the nuclear new build programme. Rushing through the procurement process is simply unacceptable and the DA will oppose any attempt to do so.
The DA will, therefore, submit parliamentary questions to:

  • Obtain confirmation of Eskom’s application for an exemption;
  • Determine the exact nature of the exemption requested; and
  • Establish whether Eskom’s exemption application has or has not been granted and, if so, on what grounds.

We will also submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to gain access to copies of all relevant correspondence between Eskom and the CPO with regard to Eskom’s application.
At present, sources suggest that Eskom may be seeking an exemption from the requirement to provide a full feasibility assessment for its proposed nuclear new build programme.
This would be a significant exemption and would mean Eskom is embarking on the country’s single biggest public procurement – without fully assessing associated risks and consequences for South Africa’s economy.
All state entities are bound by specific procurement standards and requirements. These processes are vital to ensure the effective, efficient and transparent acquisition of goods and services by the State and its entities. If procurement standards cannot be met – procurement should not commence.
It is difficult to imagine circumstances under which an exemption of this nature might be justified. Therefore, given the sheer magnitude of the implications of pushing ahead with the nuclear deal, it is essential that the public, as a key stakeholder, is made aware of it.
The DA is strongly opposed to the nuclear deal and will continue to pursue all avenues to scrutinise every process involved and to ultimately put a stop to a deal that will enslave future generations of South Africans.

Details of Eskom settlement with Gupta-owned Tegeta must be made public

The DA will write to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown, to request that the details of the Eskom penalty settlement with the Gupta-owned Tegeta Resources be made public. If Eskom has nothing to hide on the settlement, there should be no problem with releasing the full details of the settlement.
Eskom has settled rather quickly and out of court on the initial R2.5 billion penalty it placed on Optimum Coal Mine which is run by Tegeta.
While it was controlled by Glencore, the initial penalty placed on Optimum by Eskom was R2.5 billion. With the agreement to purchase the mine finally finishing in April 2016, the financial running of Optimum was taken over by Tegeta on 1 January 2016.
Once the deal had closed, Eskom supplied the firm with prepayments of R586 million to help with covering the R2.15 billion purchase, which is smaller than the actual penalty.
The former CEO of Eskom, Brian Molefe, was adamant that he was not going to negotiate with Glencore on the penalty but once Optimum had been bought by the Guptas, Eskom changed its attitude and a settlement was then discussed.
There are seemingly contradictory standards and preferential treatment accorded to dealing with the Guptas.
If Eskom has nothing to hide, then it must discuss the settlement. Otherwise it would be fair, based on previous experience, to question if the Guptas benefitted.
The DA will continue to push for the details of the settlement to be made public in the interest of transparency and openness.

DA to ask Public Protector to investigate Eskom CEO’s billion rand deals to stepdaughter

The DA will be writing to the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, requesting that she launches an investigation into Eskom CEO Matshela Koko for allegedly awarding tenders worth R1 billion to Impulse International, a company of which his step-daughter is a Director.
Impulse International was awarded 8 contracts by Eskom’s Generation unit during Koko’s tenure as the unit’s Group Executive.
Koko’s reported actions could show that he is compromised and unfit to be the head of Eskom. By claiming that he was not aware that his daughter was involved with Impulse International, Koko inadvertently admits that he failed in his role as the Chief Accounting officer to conduct due diligence on the company profile of a potential Eskom service provider.
This potentially means that Eskom violated State Procurement guidelines set out by Treasury to guide the acquisition of services by State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) under Koko’s stewardship.
The DA believes that this latest expose could be one of the reasons why Eskom board has been reluctant to release the Denton report.
The DA will ensure that the rot at Eskom is laid bare and all those implicated held accountable. It can never be acceptable that, while Eskom is struggling to raise capital for some of its power generation projects needed to grow our economy, its managers could be busy siphoning cash to benefit family members.

DA will stand up to Eskom onslaught

The DA notes the media release by Eskom today signalling their intent to claim damages from the DA for defamation and wrongful actions against Eskom and the Group Chief Executive, Matshela Koko.
We have already filed our intention to defend this action and look forward to the opportunity to do so.  The fact that Mr Koko is seeking R20 million from the DA is laughable.
The DA will not be intimidated and will not back down.
This court action will no doubt be funded by the South African taxpayer and therefore the DA will also be submitting parliamentary questions to expose how much this litigation will cost.
Yet again the state is using public funds to defend the elite.
The DA is of the belief that the comments Mr Koko refers to, were fair and made in relation to the Dentons report which is publically acknowledged to allegedly contain damning information on widespread corruption within the State-owned Entity (SOE).
The DA has tried to access the full, uncensored version of the report and have submitted an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to gain access to the report by Dentons into Eskom. Yet, to date, only redacted versions have been released.
The report cost South Africans R27 million and we all deserve to know what the uncensored version contains.
It is hoped that during this process, the full report, will be released.

State sponsorship of Jimmy Manyi and the Progressive Professionals Forum was simply wrong

Today, after bashing his critics on social media as “retards”, President of the Progressive Professionals Forum, Jimmy Manyi, finally called a press conference to fight back in the scandal surrounding the R840 000 received in “sponsorships” from Eskom and Transnet.
The fact is that sponsoring Jimmy Manyi and the Progressive Professionals Forum was simply wrong.
That is because the sponsorships:

  • could not possibly have advanced Eskom’s mission (“Powering the world”) or Transnet’s mission (“Delivering freight reliably”);
  • involved the use of public funds from state-owned enterprises, who are so cash strapped that they, in the case of Eskom, are squeezing consumers with electricity tariff hikes; and
  • supported an organization which is deeply involved in politics and which campaigns against the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, and National Treasury, who, ironically, not only guarantees Eskom’s R350 billion debt, but also masterminded Eskom’s R83 billion bailout.

We are not going to sit back and allow state departments, state-owned enterprises and public entities to be used as “washing machines” to recycle public funds to organizations pursuing political agendas on behalf of factions in the ruling party, or on behalf of families supporting factions in the ruling party, as it heads towards the ANC 54th Elective Conference.
We believe that the R840 000 in sponsorship received from Eskom and Transet is the tip of a big iceberg. And That is why we will be ramping up our investigation and will be:

  • probing whether public funds have been transferred by state departments, state-owned enterprises and public entities to the Progressive Professionals Forum, Decolonization Foundation and the Black Business Council;
  • submitting requests, in term of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (No. 2 of 2000), for copies the sponsorship policies employed by Eskom and Transnet; and
  • requesting the Audit-General, Kimi Makwetu, to investigate the sponsorships received from Eskom and Transnet.

We have to be sure that the sponsorships, received by Jimmy Manyi and the Progressive Professionals Forum, were in fact consistent with the sponsorships polices employed by Eskom and Transnet.
The fact is that in the end Jimmy Manyi and his Progressive Professionals Forum should not have received one cent from Eskom or Transnet.