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Business community to provide help, skills to both Eskom and NPA

The business community will step in to help Eskom safeguard its infrastructure, as well as provide the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) with the skills it needs to successfully prosecute those involved in state capture.

This comes after business leaders met on Friday to discuss how to take forward a request – made two weeks ago by Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter – for help in protecting Eskom’s equipment from sabotage and theft.

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Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) yesterday said business was concerned about electricity supply because rolling blackouts made doing business expensive, if not impossible.

The theft of cables, overhead lines, transformers and conductors cost Eskom about R2 billion a year, hampering the power utility’s ability to provide a service.

BLSA chief executive Busi Mavuso said they had been at the forefront of engagements with key role players such as Eskom and government on safeguarding the security of energy supply.

“We are working with several business partners to work out how we can support the safety and security of Eskom’s infrastructure. These will lead to practical and positive outcomes,” Mavuso said.

The BLSA and Eskom are also looking at the leasing of land to independent power producers (IPPs) and power purchase agreements to promote energy efficiency and reduce demand.

But a cluster of workers unions, including Saftu, NUM, Amcu and others, have presented a united front opposing this.

“We believe that the proposals aimed at addressing load shedding that have been put forward by government ministries, the private sector, consultancies and think tanks are unrealistic and are unlikely to succeed,” they said.

“These proposals reflect the interests of the IPPs and their desire to secure subsidies as a means of securing guaranteed returns on investments and to grow their businesses at the expense of Eskom.”

Meanwhile, BLSA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the NPA two weeks ago that enables the prosecuting authority to implement one category of Judge Raymond Zondo’s recommendations in his State Capture reports – the prosecution of those implicated in corruption.

The MoU will allow organised business to mobilise skills from the private sector to work for the NPA – to analyse evidence and build cases for successful prosecutions, particularly for complex cases.

The NPA has been hamstrung when it comes to prosecuting white-collar crimes emerging from the Zondo Commission of Inquiry, due to a dearth of skills within the agency to deal with the scale of corruption.

“We have long worked to fight crime through our subsidiary Business Against Crime, and now we are working with the NPA to ensure it can access the skills it needs from the private sector to support prosecutions, from forensic accountants to advocates,” Mavuso said.

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