The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and Sygnia asset manager Magda Wierzycka have launched a court application to force President Jacob Zuma and a host of other role players to repay some R5 billion allegedly lost to mismanagement and corruption at Eskom.
Court papers filed this week in the High Court in Pretoria cites the president, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, the Gupta brothers, the president’s son Duduzane, former Eskom boss Brian Molefe, former members of the Eskom Board and several senior government officials as respondents.
HSF and Wierzycka said in a statement they were seeking in the public interest the recovery of all unlawfully obtained benefits that resulted from corrupt and unlawful conduct in the absence of action by organs of state and law enforcement agencies to address clear evidence of corruption and maladministration at Eskom.
They are also seeking relief relating to the failure to report these instances of corruption it the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority, as required under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
They will ask the court to order the respondents, including members of the national executive, Eskom officials and the Gupta family and their businesses to account fully to the court for all funds or other benefits that have been accrued to them or others as a result of alleged unlawful and corrupt conduct and to pay such amounts to Eskom or the State.
“The application intends to hold all those responsible for corruption to account, in accordance with the constitution and the rule of law.
“State capture is a real and pressing threat to South Africa’s democracy. Over the course of several years, officials at the highest echelons of state have been doing the bidding of a powerful family and its business associates, in disregard of their constitutional and other legal duties.
“… Following on from the public protector’s report into state capture, the emerging evidence in the public domain shows that certain state-owned enterprises have been and are being repurposed to serve the private interests of a small powerful elite.
“The leaked Gupta emails and documents which have been published in recent months, have revealed clear evidence of unlawful, improper and corrupt activities by a a state capture network which includes numerous government officials, many of whom hold high raking positions.
“… We believe that facts surrounding the capture of Eskom by the Gupta family and their political associates represent a classic case of state capture and corruption. Benefits and payments in the order of billions or Rand have unlawfully accrued to benefit the Gupta family and its associates from 2014 to date,” they said.