Eskom’s battle with corruption has been well-documented, with one middle manager saying that a senior executive at the embattled power utility hired an assassin to kill her.
As reported by City Press, the hit was allegedly ordered against Dorothy Mmushi, who works at Eskom’s forensics department, after she opened a criminal case with the Hawks against her coworkers.
“We started uncovering syndicates and soon realised that a colleague might be colluding with certain service providers to essentially steal from the organisation,” Mmushi said.
She became aware of the plot after the hitman called her and detailed her movements over the last several months, saying he would get paid R400,000 for killing her.
She reported the matter to Eskom, the SAPS, and the Hawks, but nothing has been done to arrest the hitman.
“Please report the matter to the police, not to me. Let the police do what must be done,” Eskom chairperson Mpho Makwana told City Press after being made aware of the plot.
Despite personally telling Hawks boss General Godfrey Lebeya that the assassin was trying to extort more money from her, Mmushi said the Hawks had done nothing to help her.
A criminal showroom
High-ranking officials have often been linked to acts of criminality at the state-owned utility, which is one of the main reasons for the country’s energy crisis.
According to several station managers, the leading cause of Eskom’s power problems is rampant criminality, such as theft and sabotage, rather than a lack of skills or operation plans – which is often cited by energy experts as the main culprit.
The station managers said that acts of sabotage at power stations are done by criminal elements driven by political motives or dissatisfaction with being passed over for promotions or benefits.
Another common form of sabotage also sees conspirators actively damage power stations, which require various services tied to the involved parties, who then procure new contracts.
As reported in June, a high-ranking Eskom executive was being investigated after evidence revealed that they were actively participating in the sabotage at various power stations, which resulted in breakdowns.
The messages between the executive and their co-conspirator include discussions about strategies to sabotage multiple power stations whilst also providing evidence of successful acts of sabotage from the past.
In this case, the executive was accused of using their influence to create the work needed for new contracts.
Criminal elements at the utility also expand into coal theft, diesel theft, contract exploration, and corruption.
Although the battle against these criminal elements has been incredibly challenging, there has been some success, with several workers, contractors and others involved in criminal activities being arrested.
Nevertheless, former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said that criminal networks and bad actors are seen across the group’s operations.