Eskom’s criminal millionaires — three employees arrested and 20 suspended at Tutuka
Eskom has suspended 20 employees relating to theft and collusion at its Tutuka power station following the theft of R1.3 billion in spares at the plant during the 2020/21 financial year.
In addition, three employees were arrested and are facing criminal charges following the discovery of the criminal syndicate.
“There are twenty (20) suspended employees. Eskom forensic investigation reports on the allegations are being finalised and will be followed by disciplinary charges and proceedings accordingly,” the power utility told MyBroadband.
“Three (3) employees were arrested by the SAPS and are facing criminal charges.”
As a result of the corruption and theft still evident at Eskom’s power stations, the utility has had to increase security at its plants, including deploying an additional 400 security personnel and using drones.
“It [Eskom] has increased both overt and covert security at its power stations,” the power utility said.
“These include an additional 400 security personnel across the facilities, additional measures such as employing drone and infrared technology and bringing in canines to boost security at some of the power stations.”
The power utility said it would not provide specifics on its increased security measures.
In April 2022, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter revealed that the power utility had written off R1.3 billion worth of spares at the Tutuka power station as it could not track them down.
Eskom initially reported that it had paid hundreds of millions of rands — rather than the R1.3 billion it has now revealed — for spares that weren’t delivered and services that weren’t rendered.
He also said that Eskom was aware of collusion between coal suppliers and maintenance contractors trying to sabotage its equipment.
“During the last financial year ended 31 March 2021, we had to write off R1.3 billion in spares at Tutuka power station, where we simply couldn’t find the spares,” De Ruyter stated.
“We are also aware of collusion taking place between people with maintenance contracts, maintenance management, and coal suppliers in order to, for example, disrupt the operation of mills by adding very hard objects to the supply of coal into a mill,” he added.
By regularly disrupting the operation of Eskom’s equipment through sabotage, maintenance contractors benefit financially as they are called in to repair the problems.
De Ruyter explained that Eskom would be taking further steps to root out continued corruption, particularly in generation procurement.
This, in turn, would help stabilise the power utility’s generation capacity and the national power grid.