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Eskom called on to pay back bonuses

By Jessica Anne Wood

The Democratic Alliance (DA) submitted a petition at Eskom’s Megawatt Park offices on Wednesday 20 January, calling on the power utility to pay back R73 million paid out in bonuses to executives.
 
According to the DA, it had arranged to hand over a petition signed by 77 000 South Africans at the Eskom offices. The DA stated that the handover of the petition was completed in an orderly and peaceful manner. However, Eskom and Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown, have referred to the event as an unlawful protest.
 
Eskom has claimed that the DA and some of its supporters arrived at the offices without prior approval. In contrast, that DA stated that the arrangement was made with Loyiso Jiya, Eskom stakeholder spokesperson.
 
The petition
According to the DA, over the past seven years, Eskom executives have received R73 million in ‘performance bonuses’. The petition, which has reportedly been signed by 77 000 South Africans, demands that the executives repay their bonuses.
 
Eskom stated: “Their petition claims that “the Eskom monopoly has dumped South Africa in a crisis through incompetence and mismanagement”.  They also demand that all future bonuses must be placed on hold until we emerge from “this crisis”.”
 
According to Eskom, these “demands are frivolous and preposterous.”
 
However, the DA has come out saying that statements made by Eskom, and Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown are “ludicrous”.
 
Furthermore, Eskom noted that some of the information provided by the signatories on the petition are “nonsensical and do not exist”. These include ID numbers such as those starting with 780567…, 870431…, and 723652… (Click here for document), as well as a cell phone number that is actually the call centre number for the Financial Services Board.
 
Eskom stated: “Some signatures appear to have been executed by the same person and the petitioners managed to sign the petition in one page in first name alphabetical order.”
 
Two sides to the story
In a statement released by Eskom it stated: “The group [of DA supporters] arrived at Eskom without prior approval. They then proceeded to occupy the reception area and demanded to see Eskom Group Chief Executive Mr Brian Molefe.
 
“Mr Molefe thereafter accepted a petition from the DA’s Natasha Mazzone and Kevin Mileham. However, Eskom wishes to condemn this kind of action in the strongest terms possible. Ms Mazzone and Mr Mileham as Members of Parliament will know the laws relating to demonstration, protests and handing over of memorandums. None of these were followed. All were ignored.”
 
The DA’s version of event differ from that explained by Eskom. They maintain that they gained legal entry to Megawatt Park, being ushered in by security. An arrangement was reportedly made between DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises Natasha Mazzone and Jiya for the petition to be handed over.
 
“On arrival at Megawatt Park [on Wednesday], the MP’s approached the security gates and explained they were from the DA and wanted to hand over the petition. The security guards let them in no questions asked. The DA supporters then approached the security in a similar fashion and were ushered in too. The numerous security cameras on the site can attest to this,” said the DA.
 
“Once parked, the group entered into the reception area where Ms Mazzone requested the receptionist to contact Mr Jiya with whom the arrangement had been made. The group was then asked by security to wait in the reception area and keep the passage way clear. These requests were adhered to.
 
“After waiting more than 30 minutes, the facility manager approached Ms Mazzone and asked what she wanted.  Ms Mazzone explained that she had arranged to meet Mr Jiya to hand over the petition. The facility manager then walked away and almost immediately Mr Molefe appeared in the reception area to meet Ms Mazzone,” added the DA.
 
“Eskom will be conducting a forensic investigation to determine the authenticity of the signatories and the possibility that fraud may have been committed,” stated the power utili

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