Pravin Gord­han fumes about Eskom at Chiba me­mo­rial

CityPress - - News - VUYO MKIZE [email protected]­press.co.za

The strug­gle is far from over and, to­day, the coun­try is go­ing to need peo­ple who will be coura­geous enough to speak out be­cause it is about time we said eight years of cor­rup­tion is enough.

This was the ral­ly­ing call from Pub­lic En­ter­prises Minister Pravin Gord­han yes­ter­day as he gave a rous­ing trib­ute to the life of anti-apartheid strug­gle stal­wart Laloo Isu Chiba.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foun­da­tion, to­gether with the SA Com­mu­nist Party, com­mem­o­rated the first an­niver­sary of Chiba’s pass­ing at West­park Ceme­tery, where a me­mo­rial stone was un­veiled near the grave of Kathrada, who was Chiba’s political men­tor.

Gord­han made pointed re­marks re­gard­ing state cap­ture, the ram­pant loot­ing of state-owned en­ter­prises, the Gupta fam­ily’s role in fleec­ing Eskom’s coal sup­ply con­tracts, and about how the coun­try finds it­self in the quag­mire of load shed­ding.

He made sure to ref­er­ence how these all flew in the face of Chiba’s be­liefs and val­ues.

“It’s time now we said a lot more loudly that eight years of cor­rup­tion, of mis­man­age­ment, of break­ing the state and break­ing key in­sti­tu­tions of the state is enough,” Gord­han said.

“We need a real clean-up. If I had more time, I’d tell of the rot we found at Denel, Eskom, SAA and Transnet.

“If you use the ex­am­ple of the onion and there’s a rot­ten layer, no sooner af­ter you’ve taken out that layer, will you find that the sec­ond and third, and fourth, and fifth are all as rot­ten as the first one,” he said.

“We’ve lost bil­lions of rands through this process … bil­lions that could have been spent on fa­cil­i­ties that could have made a real dif­fer­ence in the lives of peo­ple.”

Gord­han cites as one ex­am­ple the in­fa­mous

1 064 lo­co­mo­tives ten­der, which Transnet is­sued in 2012: “The orig­i­nal price of the ten­der was

R36 bil­lion. Then that num­ber changed to

R54 bil­lion, so sud­denly it’s R18 bil­lion more. Then there was a spe­cial com­mis­sion of R5 bil­lion paid to a com­pany be­long­ing to [Gupta lieu­tenant] Salim Essa – we are look­ing for him. R5 bil­lion to do noth­ing. That’s just one deal we are talk­ing about.”

Re­gard­ing Eskom, Gord­han again lam­basted the role of the Gup­tas.

“We saw a graph the other day when I was at Eskom, show­ing it had al­most 30 to 36 days of coal at ev­ery sin­gle power sta­tion up until about 2016/17, but then, when the Gup­tas bought this mine and this Tegeta com­pany came along, and you see the graph goes like that [ges­tur­ing a hor­i­zon­tal line] and then when they bought this mine the graph went down, the avail­abil­ity of coal was im­pacted,” he said.

“So their spe­cial­ity, to­gether with the man­age­ment and board of Eskom at that time, was to make sure that the Gup­tas were the sole sup­pli­ers of coal to Eskom and once they con­trolled that monopoly, they could charge them what­ever they liked.”

Gord­han said that, at the time Eskom, ex­ec­u­tives would “have mid­night tele­con­fer­ences to buy coal to the tune of R1 bil­lion from Tegeta or Op­ti­mum, or what­ever it was called at that par­tic­u­lar time”.

“To­day, if you ask peo­ple to buy coal, they will tell you it will take them a year.”

Is­mail Momo­niat, Na­tional Trea­sury deputy direc­tor-gen­eral, said part of the les­son the coun­try and its lead­ers needed to take heed of com­ing out of the pe­riod of state cap­ture and loot­ing was “not to rest on our lau­rels”.

“We need to clean up the coun­try and save our democ­racy from our­selves … Many of us didn’t speak up at first against cor­rup­tion.

“When we had an is­sue of cor­rup­tion, it’s not that peo­ple around didn’t know, it was be­cause peo­ple didn’t speak up. We need to ask why the Gup­tas hap­pened and why they were al­lowed to abuse us,” he said.

PHOTO: MPUMELELO BUTHELEZI

Pub­lic En­ter­prises Minister Pravin Gord­han

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