Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan called out the greed at Eskom on Tuesday.
At a briefing before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), Gordhan said there was “no limit to the greed that permeates that whole ecosystem” at Eskom.
He was not alone at the committee and was flanked by acting CEO Calib Cassim.
Members of Scopa were prepared to listen to Gordhan specifically on how Eskom was improving in terms of governance and performance.
The minister told members that changes have occurred at the state utility and that the new board has implemented a fair amount of cleaning up, based on evidence and testimony given at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
“There have been a few lapses on the forensic side, but the board is beginning to attend to those,” Gordhan said.
He said that the company is finding it extremely difficult to deal with the corruption within the organisation.
“Rooting out the culture of corruption within Eskom and among the businesses that do work with Eskom is still a challenge,” Gordhan explained.
In the 2023 financial year, Eskom lost R81 million to fraud and corruption. The utility lost R344 million to theft of conductors, cabling, and network-related equipment, malicious damage to property, and attempted theft, according to Cassim, as reported in the Daily Investor.
“Eskom incurred a net loss after tax of R23.9 billion, a significant increase from the R11.9 billion net loss reported for the previous financial year,” according to the State utility.
R18 BILLION PAYOUT FROM WORLD BANK
In late October, it was reported that South Africa was one step closer to receiving an R18 billion ($1 billion) loan from the World Bank to help with the energy crisis.
The World Bank said that its board had approved a $1 billion loan, according to Reuters.
The loan will help Eskom address its shortfalls and help the company transition to a low-carbon economy.
It should also be noted that the money would be used to help upgrade power and logistics infrastructure within SA.
Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, the World Bank's director for South Africa, said the reforms that SA had initiated would “benefit the people of South Africa — particularly the most vulnerable households — the economy, the environment, and advance the energy transition”.