Eskom nails four for fraud and corruption at Tutuka power station

Eskom has announced the arrest of an employee for alleged fraud and corruption at the Tutuka Power Station.

“A former Eskom short-term contract employee stationed at Tutuka Power Station was arrested on 10 May 2023 for fraud and corruption,” it said.

“Zandile Rosemary Ngcobo, who was employed as a Procurement Officer, appeared before the Standerton Magistrate Court on the same day and was granted bail of R5 000.”

It is alleged that Ngcobo colluded with two other Eskom employees and a supplier regarding the purchase of a shipping container at an inflated price.

The container — which cost Eskom R939,550 — was delivered late and only valued at approximately R20,000.

“As a result, Eskom suffered a loss of R919 550,” the power utility stated.

The four individuals faced the same charges and appeared in the Middleburg Commercial Crime Court on 11 May 2023.

Ngcobo appeared again alongside co-accused Jessie Phindile Kubeka, who is a shareholder of an Eskom supplier company called Mnandi (Pty) Ltd, and Eskom employees Sarah Nomsa Sibiya and Bhekizizwe Solomon Twala.

“They will appear again in the Middleburg Commercial Court on 8 June 2023,” Eskom stated.

The power utility said it is committed to supporting the South African Police Service and the National Prosecution Authority in their investigations to ensure the successful prosecution of the offenders.

“These arrests continue to demonstrate Eskom’s pursuit to ensure that perpetrators face the full might of the law and zero tolerance towards crime,” Eskom said.

“Eskom urges the public to report information regarding theft of coal, fuel oil, diesel, infrastructure and fraudulent acts to the Eskom Crime Line: 0800 11 27 22.”

The state-owned power utility has been struggling to root out theft and corruption at its power stations for several years.

On 8 May, the power utility revealed that it was hit by 760 criminal incidents in the span of 90 days. This works out to more than eight incidents per day.

This situation isn’t new. On 3 May, the Kriel Regional Court in Mpumalanga ordered a former Eskom employee to pay back R513,630 that he stole from the utility while working as an accountant at the Kriel power station.

The employee — Sifiso Jacob Masina — faced fraud charges for creating and submitting invoices for work that was never done.

“The money was channelled through the suppliers and was withdrawn as cash from the accounts of Lutshala CC and Mandlenkosi CC, of which he had direct control,” Eskom said.

Masina resigned from Eskom with immediate effect on 27 November 2012, pending a disciplinary process after a forensic investigation into financial misconduct had been concluded.

Eskom registered a case of fraud with the South African Police Service in December 2012.

Masina finally appeared in court nearly ten years later, pleading guilty to the charges on 20 July 2022.

Now read: South Africa’s plan to pay R3 million for every megawatt saved — and add 3,800MW to the grid

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Eskom nails four for fraud and corruption at Tutuka power station