Two Eskom employees and a supplier were arrested and charged with fraud, theft, and corruption related to the disappearance of spares at Tutuka power station valued at hundreds of millions of rand.
Eskom said that the two Eskom employees appeared in the Standerton Magistrates Court on Friday. A supplier who is also a suspect in the case was arrested that same day.
Eskom alleged that it paid hundreds of millions of rand for goods that were never delivered and services that were never rendered.
The arrests followed months of internal investigative work by Eskom, in cooperation with the law enforcement agencies in Mpumalanga.
The suspects, Jessie Phindile Kubeka, 51% shareholder in a supplier company; Eskom employees Sarah Nomsa Sibiya (Senior Technician Operating) and Bhekizizwe Solomon Twala (Senior Storeperson), are all facing the same charges.
They were released on bail of R5,000 each. The trial has been set to down for 21 February 2022.
It is anticipated that four other suspects involved in the same scheme will be arrested next week.
Eskom’s investigations have also established the existence of a syndicate responsible for the theft of approximately R100 million worth of fuel oil per month from the power station.
Further warrants of arrest are being prepared concerning other suspects in the fuel oil syndicate.
“Eskom, and Tutuka power station in particular, continues to be the scene of the most despicable of crimes perpetrated by some of the very people tasked with the stewardship of this public institution and by unscrupulous suppliers,” said Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter.
“Whilst these investigations take a long time to come to fruition, the wins whereby arrests are made and criminals are brought to answer for their unlawful conduct, goes a long way towards making a positive contribution to the rebuilding of the organisation.”
This news comes after De Ruyter admitted that corruption is still rife at the power utility and that patronage networks still exist.
De Ruyter said it is clear that the networks created during the state capture years are still active.
“The notion that state capture ended when the Gupta brothers’ plane departed Lanseria is not true. It is still carrying on, and it is still an ongoing battle,” he said.
Commenting on why corruption is still happening under his watch, De Ruyter said one man could not clean up the company.
“If you look at the 42,000 employees that we’ve got and you look at the patronage networks that exist, it is impossible for an individual, no matter how good, to fix Eskom,” he said.