More than R5bn paid to Eskom officials illegally doing business with state: SIU

19 November 2021 - 16:55
By Nonkululeko Njilo
The SIU said on Friday it had identified more than 102 Eskom employees who were illegally doing business with the parastatal. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Olivier Le Moal The SIU said on Friday it had identified more than 102 Eskom employees who were illegally doing business with the parastatal. Stock photo.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) said it is making significant strides in uncovering corruption at the state-owned entities it was investigating, including at Eskom.

Speaking at the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services on Friday, the unit said its preliminary investigations had revealed that at least 102 Eskom officials were illegally doing business with the entity and more than R5bn had been paid to them.  

The SIU’s chief national investigations officer, Leonard Lekgetho, said the investigations at the utility were going well.

The sentiments follow a recent meeting with Eskom management who had asked for the unit to increase the mandate of the current investigation. The power utility wants the SIU to also investigate diesel procurement, “which seems to be a real issue”.

It also wants power stations that are not covered in the current proclamation to be probed, according to Lekgetho.

“We have done a lot in terms of uncovering some of the corruption we have seen within Eskom. For example, with officials who are doing business with Eskom, we found 102 officials are doing business with Eskom. The amount being paid is more than R5bn and an investigation is ongoing regarding that,” he told the committee.  

Denel, Prasa, SAA and Transnet are among the six entities the unit is investigating.    

MPs praised the SIU for meeting 75% of its planned annual targets for the 2021 financial year. The unit has achieved a clean, unqualified audit for five years in a row.   

However, some MPs, including Qubudile Dyantyi, were critical of the department’s performance, pointing out the remaining 25% as non-performance. This as he cited low vacancy rates and signing of performance agreements.

SIU head advocate Andy Mothibi said the unit would strive to do better, specifically pointing to improved turnaround times of investigation and implementing measures to access civic litigation, among other areas.

“We do not take the kind words lightly. Of course, the challenge is to ensure we keep it up, to ensure that good performance is sustained,” he said. 

“The 25% concern, we do hear and accept that it has to be covered as well.”

The unit’s annual report shows its financial state of affairs as very positive, despite challenges in the recovery of its debt, that it has invoiced for investigation and related services performed. 

“As at March 31, the SIU has a R836m accumulated surplus in the statement of financial position that is has managed to build over the past few years. A material mount of this surplus is reflected in the SIU’s positive bank balance of R742m,” the unit said.