Eskom is experiencing such high crime levels that the lives of senior managers and their family members are threatened and they have to use bodyguards in public spaces.
In addition, some contractors are “exploiting and overcharging” the debt-ridden state-owned entity.
These are some of the observations made by cabinet ministers during a media briefing on the power crisis on Monday afternoon.
The political heads, who included mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan and police minister Bheki Cele, among others, held the briefing a week after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced plans that will see the country relying heavily on independent power producers to ease the energy crisis.
“You find that some general managers of these [power] stations, they move around with personal protectors ... their wives ... their children are taken to school by personal protectors. That starts from inside these [power stations] where the criminals from both the internal and external [environment], they collude to steal the whole tank of diesel, the whole tank of oil coming to [Eskom],” said Cele.
The stolen oil was earmarked for lubricating power producing machinery.
Criminal activities were so bad that employees looking for spare parts in storerooms would find nothing.
“All those spares of machines appear on the paper, but you will not find them at the storeroom but all the money is paid,” said Cele.