South Africa: corruption costs Eskom $55 million a month

Corruption is costing South Africa’s state-owned power utility Eskom an average of $55 million a month, as it is burdened by a heavy debt and unable to produce enough power for the country’s severe energy crisis, the company’s former CEO said Wednesday.
Questioned remotely by a parliamentary committee on public accounts, Andre de Ruyter confirmed his statements on the level of corruption within Eskom gathered in a document he submitted.
“This is a conservative estimate based on my assessment of the losses incurred by Eskom that have been brought to my attention”, he said in the document. One billion rand, or the equivalent of $55 million, “is being stolen from Eskom” every month.
For months, the 60 million South Africans have been without power for up to 12 hours a day. The continent’s leading industrial power is unable to draw enough electricity from Eskom’s antiquated and poorly maintained power plants. And the situation could get worse with the onset of the southern winter and an increase in demand.
The power crisis is costing the economy some $50 million a day in lost generation, according to the government. After years of mismanagement and corruption under President Jacob Zuma (2009-2018), Eskom now has a debt of 422 billion rand, currently the equivalent of almost $23 billion, which the government is trying to pay off. South Africa still gets 80% of its electricity from coal. A $98 billion investment plan was approved by rich countries last year at COP27 as part of an agreement for a “just transition” to clean energy. Inducted as CEO of Eskom in 2020, Andre de Ruyter was abruptly ousted in February 2023.