South Africa’s Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has denied allegations of attempting to conceal corruption at Eskom, the state-owned power utility. He refuted claims that the government initially exempted Eskom from reporting material irregularities to parliament. Godongwana therefore called on law enforcement agencies to take swift action against those involved in corruption at Eskom. He also urged the official opposition not to challenge the exemption in court, as it has already been withdrawn.
In a statement, Godongwana said the government would issue a gazette on Thursday withdrawing the exemption for Eskom not to report irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. However, several political parties, including the EFF, DA, IFP and NFP, accused the government of attempting to hide corruption at Eskom. They alleged that the exemption was an attempt to shield the power utility from accounting to parliament.
Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter has been implicated in corruption allegations and has agreed to appear before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) to provide further information. De Ruyter had accused high-ranking ANC politicians of being involved in the corruption at Eskom.
The allegations at Eskom have brought the issue of corruption to the forefront of South African politics. The government is facing mounting pressure to address issues at state-owned entities and to hold those involved accountable. The upcoming appearance of Andre de Ruyter before The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) could provide the impetus for further investigations into corruption at Eskom.
Godongwana argued that the government had no intention of hiding corruption at Eskom. He claimed that the toxic environment at Eskom could cloud substantive issues. The finance minister said the issues at Eskom and Transnet were different because the government’s exposure to Eskom was much higher. He added that there was a risk to the economy from Eskom, but that the government was not hiding any corrupt activity.
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