The recent reports of how Tegeta Resources – a company whose main shareholders include the Gupta-owned Oakbay Resources and the President’s son, Duduzane Zuma’s Mabengela Investments – has been able to secure a very favourable coal supply deal and have it pre-paid are deeply disturbing. Eskom is not just some failing state-owned enterprise like SAA; it represents our total electricity sector. It sits at the foundation of our economy. We simply cannot afford to have the multiple failures in corporate governance that should be obvious for all to see.
Of course, Eskom’s own responses to the reports, as well as those of Oakbay, have sought to defend the abysmal situation by pointing to apparently similar arrangements, including massive pre-payments, with other suppliers of coal in the past. So, when all plausible justifications are exhausted, the catch-all defence is that these types of cosy arrangements have been happening for a long time, so why is everyone so worked up about it now? Nazeem Howa, the CEO of Oakbay, is particularly fond of this type of argument and uses it whenever he can. Has the whole issue blown up just because, as he claims, vested white-owned business interests are threatened by a feisty newcomer to the sector that upends the way things have always been done?
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