The past two days have brought to the fore the level of hubris which has been the organising principle for Executive leadership at Eskom. More than ever before, the nation has come to realise the level of rot in our largest parastatal, enabled by some of the most intelligent people in the executive leadership of the company. As we speak the new Eskom board is in a race against time to ensure that the company releases its financial results before 31 January 2018 or else the JSE could suspend the utility’s debt securities. We are told that in order to release its financials, Eskom needs at least R20 billion.
We have heard denials upon denials from people who, if their story of lack of knowledge is to be believed, ought, at the very least, to accept responsibility for failing in their fiduciary duties. If indeed they had no knowledge of the on-goings at Eskom, then they have failed in executing their duties and were effectively sleeping on the job and for that they should be held accountable. Under different circumstances, these men should be held up as beacons of hope for our country. They are young, sharp and incredibly gifted. Lo and behold, they have conspired to achieve a level of infamy that they probably never thought possible.
This has come to be because, as the representative of the Economic Freedom Fighter Mr Mzingisi Dlamini eloquently put it, their problem is “baya phapha”. In their zeal to please politicians and to enrich themselves, they never conceived of themselves sitting in the benches of Parliament to account for their gross misdeeds. Under their watch, one of the largest companies in South Africa has seen a deterioration which, left unchecked for longer, will cripple the Republic and leave any hopes of an economy recovery in the dust heap. In their eagerness to please their political masters, these two and many others across our parastatals, forgot that they have been entrusted with the responsibility to lead these institutions for the betterment of our nation. Believing themselves to be immune to the law, they embarked on a production of value destruction the likes of which this country should never have been exposed to in the first.
Given an opportunity to make a clean break with their criminal enterprise, Koko and Singh have opted to engage in a game of smoke and mirrors. They have refused to take any level of reasonable responsibility for their part in the problems afflicting Eskom. They have developed a case of amnesia that even the most gullible amongst observers find difficult to accept. In the process, they have given a middle finger to the Republic and shown their continued belief in their ability to escape the noose that is fast tightening around the State Capture brigade. Time will tell if they will live to regret their obstinance in the face of mounting evidence of wrong doing. Regardless of this, the process currently underway with the Parliamentary Inquiry is an opportunity for South Africans to deal a decisive blow against corruption and the misuse of state resources.
South Africans must remain vigilant and recognise that our problems will persist until our institutions are infused with a patriotic spirit. Nothing short of that will suffice. We can all help the process by celebrating excellence in the public sector. We can help by not enabling criminality when it benefits us or those close to us. We can help by holding our representatives accountable and demanding nothing short of total dedication to the achievement of the goals articulated in the National Development Plan.
However, we must not for one second assume that state capture is the exclusive domain of the Gupta project. It has never been and unless we confront that reality head on, we will continue to limp from crisis to crisis, capture after capture and finding ourselves sitting through another enquiry. The likes of Koko and Singh must be duly punished for their aiding of corruption and capture and should serve as examples of how such acts will not tolerated.