The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) on Friday called for a full judicial commission of enquiry into State-owned Eskom's affairs, following the release of a redacted version of the so-called Dentons report into corruption at the parastatal.
International legal firm Dentons conducted a R20-million Eskom-commissioned probe into the operational and financial underperformance of the organisation in 2015, the results of which were released in a redacted final report earlier this month.
Outa noted that the report is incomplete, as Eskom had allegedly denied Dentons access to vital information, which it said reveals “major shortcomings” and only deals with a portion of what needs to be uncovered.
Outa wants the relevant authorities to initiate, with “haste”, a judicial commission of enquiry into the full range of Eskom’s governance failures since 2000.
“We demand a full investigation of the apparent lack of oversight exercised by the Eskom board and, furthermore, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) needs to answer some tough questions regarding its lack of action with regard to apparent obvious corruption and maladministration within Eskom,” said Outa portfolio director of energy Ted Blom, who was convinced the “gross violations, mismanagement and lapses” in fiduciary duty continued at Eskom.
“Only once a full independent enquiry takes place, will we be able to quantify what the incompetence and lack of accountable leadership within Eskom has truly cost the South African economy,” he added.
Further, Eskom’s attempts to keep the report under wraps are “unacceptable” and shows a lack of transparency, said Outa.
The group also questioned why Nersa, as the energy sector regulator, did not uncover the irregularities within Eskom, despite numerous calls for an investigation as early as 2008. Outa believes the regulator should have exercised more control.
“Judicial sanction of the report is especially important now that Eskom seeks to embark on new nuclear power plants, as this has the potential to be an even greater fiasco and a waste of the consumers' and taxpayers' money,” Blom concluded.