POLITICAL NEWS - Answering questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) over the looting of Covid-19 funds by state officials, alongside financial issues faced by power utility Eskom,
Deputy President David Mabuza says government had taken a stance that Eskom needed support with a comprehensive turnaround programme to ensure it developed and enhanced its capacity to respond to the country’s demands.
We need to build a financially sustainable organ, Mabuza stressed, with focus on restructuring the utility.
Eskom’s board, including management, had systems in place to tackle corruption with a zero-tolerance stance to ensure a previous legacy of corruption was not repeated at the utility.
Asked why Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer remained in his position despite an alleged admission of breaching policy, Mabuza said and an investigation was launched, conducted and a report tabled, which found no wrongdoing against the COO. He maintained it would be unfortunate to accuse him of wrongdoing without substance.
Responding to the EFF’s question that Eskom management was riddled with mostly white, allegedly racist males despite calls for transformation, Mabuza said allegations of racism would be looked into as government took such allegations seriously. He said Eskom management were resolute to fight any corruption while ensuring a new positive culture at Eskom.
Government corruption on PPE
Asked what government would do to deal with corruption to ensure the culprits were arrested as opposed to “toothless” suspensions and commissions, Mabuza said it was important to capacitate state law enforcement agencies, including courts, to ensure they dealt with corruption which had clearly infected society.
“Corruption was now spreading in society, Mabuza said, adding that the country needed to increase efforts in tackling the virus that was corruption as it was not only in government but was clearly in society.
“Those accused in government lived in a society. This virus of corruption has also infected society.”
“We need to step up our fight, and have strong institutions to weather the storm, to protect the country.” This presented opportunities to deal decisively with corruption, which Mabuza said could destroy all gains made by the country.
“We are going to strengthen institutions to ensure stolen monies are found, Mabuza said.”
“Realising the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we cannot regret decisions made in an attempt to fight the pandemic,” Mabuza said. Condemning looting of state resources, Mabuza noted that adequate financial resources were reprioritised to ensure availability of PPE to frontline workers.