Flash Briefing: Eskom investigates possible sabotage; unrelenting Covid-19 tender fraud continues; coalition agreements unclear despite deadline

  • Eskom CEO André de Ruyter says that Eskom is investigating suspicious circumstances surrounding the breakdowns of several power stations. Paraphrasing a principle known as Hanlon’s Razor, De Ruyter said he always tries to assume good faith. “My fundamental point of departure has always been not to attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence,” the Eskom chief said in an online briefing. However, Eskom recently had an incident where three units at Matimba power station went down simultaneously. Asked what the motive of such sabotage might be, De Ruyter said it is dangerous to speculate. “We should avoid irresponsible speculation [and] should also avoid creating an atmosphere of paranoia,” he said. De Ruyter stated that they had been met with resistance from the syndicates that have benefited from corruption inside Eskom.
  • Covid-19 tender issues continue unabated, as response from authorities remains scarce, and implicated companies remain in business with the government. SARS has published a list of companies that have been convicted and sentenced for dodging taxes on Covid-19 contracts, but many escaped with a slap on the wrist fine of as little as R4,000. Several companies have been tied to individuals who scored hundreds of millions of rands in contracts for ‘fogging’ and unnecessary sanitisation at Gauteng schools. While authorities say that action is being taken, no disclosure reports have been published, and on the face of it, nothing is being done.
  • Today marks the 14th day after the local election results were declared and serves as the deadline for municipalities to elect or set up dates to elect new leadership. Councils can convene a meeting and postpone it to a later date. However, despite the looming deadlines, many hung municipalities have still not reached any coalition agreements, and some major metros like Johannesburg and Tshwane still haven’t found any stable ground. Despite claims from political parties that the electorate would be placed at the forefront of negotiations, most discussions have degenerated to horse-trading and bickering over political positions and who gets to be in power.
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