MPs hear ex­plo­sive tes­ti­mony on graft and state cap­ture

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

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

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