The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) want Eskom Chief Operations Officer Jan Oberlhozer removed for allegedly ‘using the power utility to enrich himself, his businesses, and relatives.’
“We have called for Oberholzer’s removal since damning allegations against him regarding nepotism, victimisation of non-compliant employees and conflict of interest arose in March 2020. The EFF is vindicated now that the farce report that cleared him is being subjected to public scrutiny,” says the party in a statement.
Oberholzer is a shareholder of Stefanutti Stocks, one of the companies being accused of benefiting more than R4 billion in over-payments during the construction of the Kusile power station.
“ Oberholzer, a shareholder of the Steffanutti Stocks firm which defrauded Eskom of a sum of up to R2 billion, is part of a syndicate that loots Eskom for personal benefit and those associated with him. Further to the reports that he was part of transactional engagements between his company Steffanutti Stocks and Eskom as the COO on at least three occasions, Oberholzer also stands accused of operating against the financial interests of Eskom by procuring the services of labour broker Black and Veatch, paying them an obscene amount which increased from R2.4 billion to R14 billion since 2008,” the party further states.
Stefanutti Stocks has rejected the accusation.
The EFF says Oberholzer victimised the whistle-blower in the matter. “Which reveals how sinister and deliberate his corruption is and how he will go to great lengths to suppress transparency and accountability.”
The party says Oberholzer has been defended by the Eskom leadership.
“This promotes the perception in society that whites are never taken to account for any of their crimes, and that Oberlhozer is a beneficiary of this white privilege. There is no other plausible explanation of why the Eskom board has been hell-bent on defending Oberlhozer. We reiterate our call for a legitimate criminal process to be instituted against Jan Oberholzer and all those associated with him in defrauding and compromising Eskom.”
The party plans to occupy Eskom offices should Oberholzer not be removed.
Below is the party’s statement on the issue:
Eskom says it has nothing further to add regarding allegations levelled against him. The power utility says the board twice asked two independent lawyers to investigate the COO. The first time was in July 2019 when the allegations first surfaced. The investigations found no substance to the allegations.
Early this year, the board then asked Advocate Nazir Cassim to also investigate the allegations. Cassim was given the powers to interview all witnesses that he thought might assist with the investigations – he also had access to all Eskom documents. Cassim found no basis for these allegations. Eskom says there is also a court case regarding the same matter.