The Democratic Alliance has given President Cyril Ramaphosa until Friday to release the outcome of the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) report on Eskom’s multibillion-rand coal deal during the first round of rolling blackouts in 2008.
DA member of parliament Natasha Mazzone told The Citizen the report indicated the government had bailed out Eskom with R14.5 billion.
“The report was handed over to the presidency in July 2017 and allegedly kept hush-hush from the public ears and eyes. But now we, the DA, want the cat to be let out of the bag,” said Mazzone.
She said the report also established that the first rolling blackout episode, back in 2008, may have been carefully orchestrated by Eskom employees to get emergency contracts signed that would benefit pop-up coal suppliers.
The SIU investigation lasted four years, she said.
She said: “If President Ramaphosa fails to accede to our request we will submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).
“We demand the SIU report be released immediately so the people of South Africa can see we no longer have a government but an organisation of criminals and crooks who have taken the power away from the people.”
Attempts to solicit comment from government spokesperson Phumla Williams were fruitless.
In a statement yesterday afternoon, however, Mazzone said the Presidency had told them that the records and report they had requested did not in fact exist.
She said that government’s own records suggested they were simply lying in a cover-up.
“This committee was established in response to recent electricity supply disruptions and the negative impact on the economy. However, what is astounding is the response from the Presidency. The Cabinet statement can be found here which confirms the existence of such a report.
“What we are left with is either 1) Cabinet is lying to us and no report was actually prepared or delivered by the Deputy President or 2) The ANC does not want to release such a report and is covering up the true extent of the absolute chaos and crisis within Eskom.
“Eskom has been hampered by corruption, costs and capacity issues. State capture ripped the heart out of Eskom with corrupt contracts and tenders around diesel and coal. Eskom costs have soared – linked to the failing coal power plants of Medupi and Kusile, with massive cost overruns, excessive executive pay and a bloated workforce. The entity has failed to introduce new capacity and maintain existing capacity, which has left South Africa at the mercy of rolling blackouts.
“With Moody’s reserving their ratings judgment, the sword is hanging over the head of our economy and it has Eskom written all over it.
“We need the ANC to be honest and upfront with us about the problems at Eskom. We cannot have further issues hidden and covered up. We call on the ANC to make public the reports on Eskom to keep the public informed. This crisis affects every part of society and we deserve to know what mess the ruling government has dropped us in.”
(Updated by Charles Cilliers)