There has been a nasty smell about Eskom for some time. Suggestions that the state power utility has been used – abused – to help further an agenda of naked corruption.
Lucrative coal deals being doled out to the Guptas, absolutely dire corporate governance, musical chairs at boardroom level, and fears that some of Jacob Zuma’s more pliant ministers have been given political oversight of this parastatal’s candy shop of corruption.
So maybe it should have been no surprise that Brian Dames, a former Eskom CEO, spilled piles of beans over the floor when he testified before MPs’ Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises on Wednesday this week.
Engineering News provides an account of Dames’ testimony, which any concerned South African should read:
I interviewed Dames (pronounced as an Americanism for a collection of ladies in that one radio news bulletin) several times when he was running Eskom.
He seemed dedicated, honest, hard working, competent. The right man in the right job at the right time. He is no saint, but I suspect he is less of a sinner than many in the Eskom arena.
Now he tells MPs:
– he was coerced into meeting (an unidentified) Gupta
– there were death threats against him
– his hands were tied when he attempted to block dodgy practices
– his departure from Eskom was an uncomfortable one
The parliamentary hearing kicked off in the same week that many commentators have warned that Jacob Zuma has just reshuffled his cabinet in a naked attempt to grease the wheels for a trillion dollar nuclear deal with Russia.
Dames told MPs there is no need to construct new nuclear power plants in South Africa.
Another good reason why he was kicked out the door?
He hasn’t been crucified yet, but recently the life of Brian has had its challenges.