MPs hear explosive testimony on graft and state capture
PARLIAMENT has been presented with explosive evidence on state capture by three organisations that probed the looting of the country’s coffers.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) accused Eskom of fleecing the country of billions of rand – with the escalation of the build programme of power plants, including Medupi, Kusile and Ingula – up from R91 billion to more than R1 trillion.
Ted Blom of Outa said the assets were supposed to cost R91bn, but they were in excess of R1 trillion and Eskom owed South Africa an explanation.
It said Eskom also owed South Africa a refund over cost escalations.
Outa said load-shedding in 2008 was self-inflicted, with coal companies holding the power utility hostage with high prices.
The SA Council of Churches, Outa and the State Capacity Research Project were yesterday giving damning evidence against top officials and the Guptas in state capture.
Yesterday was the first day MPs met with the organisations to discuss state capture and the looting of billions from the state coffers.
Blom said Eskom had said in the mid-2000s the building of the three coal-fired power plants would cost R91bn, but that it had gone up to more than R1 trillion.
Medupi was to be built for R26bn but then costs went up to R32bn and later rose even further to R150bn, said Blom.
Ingula’s cost shot up from R20bn to R40bn.
Blom accused Eskom of increasing the cost of building the power plants.
“The assets were supposed to cost R91bn, but the costs are in excess of R1 trillion. Eskom owes us a massive refund,” he said.
Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana of the SACC said South Africa had become a Mafia state, with grand corruption.
He said the focus may be at national level, but the evidence they had gathered at local and provincial government level was also shocking.
Mpumlwana said the pattern of corruption had created a Mafia state that had replaced constitutional bodies.
The bishop said there was a parallel governance structure that had taken control of key institutions and decisions.
The capture of state-owned entities and the raiding of departmental budgets was a pattern in the corruption.
“The cabinet was supposed to be above reproach.
“But when doubts emerge, the question remains whether the boards should not be appointed by the national legislature,” he said.
Professor Ivor Chipkin of the Research Project said their report, titled the “Betrayal of the Promise”, answered questions on state capture following their investigation.
Chipkin, who also made a presentation at the SACP congress recently, said the academics were responding to the current challenges and how a shadow state had replaced a constitutional state and its institutions with decisions of government taken elsewhere.
Evidence of state capture has emerged in the public linking top government officials with the Guptas, Chipkin said, adding that the capture of Eskom was a bigger story of what was happening in the country.
Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said the cost escalations in the power plants was due to a number of factors such as industrial action and other delays, like replacing contractors whose work they were not happy with at Medupi.
He said at Medupi there was a delay of 18 months due to labour disputes and other factors.
Eskom owes South Africa an explanation and a big refund