Image via Adobe Stock
Image via Adobe Stock
Two Eskom employees and a plot owner were arrested on Monday 16 March for allegedly connecting customers illegally using Eskom’s transformer and other material in the north of Johannesburg.
According to a statement released on Thursday 19 March, all three employees appeared briefly in the Atteridgeville Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday 18 March and they remain in custody.
The three employees were caught following public tip-offs. These leads were later followed by an extensive investigation through collaboration between Eskom and the South African Police Service (SAPS).
“This was part of an ongoing sting operation to deal with any criminality that seeks to undermine efforts to be efficient, contain costs, reduce theft-related energy losses, increase sales and collect revenue for services rendered,” said Eskom.
The arrest of the three employees brings the total number of employees who were caught in similar unlawful activities to five since the beginning of the year.
“We will continue to heighten efforts to curb any criminal act by anyone, including our employees, and we will cooperate fully with the law enforcement agencies on the matters,” said senior manager for Maintenance and Operations in Gauteng, Motlhabane Ramashi.
In addition, the power utility will subject its employees to its internal disciplinary processes. Ramashi urged all those who may be aware of any form of criminal acts by Eskom employees or anyone to send their anonymous tip-offs to the crime line on 080-011-2722.
The Eskom board, also on Thursday, acknowledged receipt of correspondence on allegations of corruption and victimisation against its Chief Operating Officer, Jan Oberholzer.
According to SABC News, Corruption Watch and the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) are calling on the Eskom board to intervene and act to protect whistle-blowers.
Both organisations are referring to an Eskom employee, who has since deposed an affidavit to the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
Spokesperson Sikonathi Matshantsha says Eskom has taken urgent steps to address these allegations:
“Eskom has previously dealt with matters concerning the employee in question; the investigation was closed following a thorough examination of the allegations, to which no substance was found. However, in light of the new allegations including the alleged abuse of power, the Board of Eskom has taken urgent steps to address these allegations in a transparent process.”
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter also met Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile and other stakeholders to discuss the Emfuleni Local Municipality’s debt.
In the latest meeting, the municipality paid R50 million to the power utility. Eskom then agreed to hold off on seizing the municipality’s assets.