10 JULY 2022 – 20:07
Eskom has agreed to pay a 7% increase to employees who went on an illegal strike even though it admits it does not have the wherewithal to pay higher salaries to already well-remunerated workers (“Eskom says unaffordable deal will add R1bn to wage bill”, July 5).
This extraordinary stance violates virtually every tenet of good governance by which Eskom is bound as set out in the applicable values and principles itemised in section 195(1) of the constitution. Certainly, the accountability, ethics and efficacy of agreeing to pay wages at unaffordable levels smacks of being held to ransom by unionists who are capable of keeping the lights off in SA while criminally intimidating non-strikers.
The good news is that Eskom has an opportunity to redeem itself. It has been identified as a — if not the — major victim of state capture. Raking back the loot from the looters is a rich potential source of revenue for Eskom. It needs to pluck up the courage to litigate in the civil courts against the state capturers in general, and the ANC in particular.
Wits professor William Gumede calculates that the illegal Hitachi Power Africa deal with Eskom netted the ANC in excess of R5bn in loot, a tidy sum to recover from Luthuli House if Eskom can find the will to sue. Hitachi has already paid hefty fines in the US for concluding the deal to illegally cut ANC investment arm Chancellor House in on the boiler supply deal.
If the ANC can’t pay it must be liquidated and the liquidators must follow up on the fate of the loot. So far the governing party has enjoyed complete impunity, a sad reflection on our criminal justice administration and on the failure of Eskom to recognise the opportunity to refill its coffers.
Paul Hoffman, SC
Director, Accountability Now