30/01/2017 09:33 SAST | Updated 30/01/2017 10:51 SAST

Who Are They Protecting? Eskom Is Refusing To Release A Damning Report Into Its Operations

Releasing the report at the time would have had an adverse effect on employee morale, it said.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

A multi-million rand investigation into wrongdoing at Eskom has allegedly been kept under lock and key, with fears of a cover-up now doing the rounds.

The Huffington Post South Africa reported on Monday that the power utility had been sitting on the report for months, prompting suspicions that senior executives possibly fingered in the report were being protected.

According to the paper, US law firm Denton was commissioned in 2015 to investigate a variety of problems at Eskom, including reasons for loadshedding and delays in the power utility's infrastructure build program.

The allegations published on Monday come ahead of what is bound to be a challenging week for Eskom, which is set to turn off power at 12 defaulting municipalities this week, if they do not pay their debts to the power utility.

The Denton report was not released publicly, but Eskom chairman Ben Ngubane previously told Business Day that it was completed and its recommendations had been implemented.

But public enterprises minister Lynne Brown said the report could not be used as it was inadequate, the paper said.

Business Day said there were suspicions that people fingered in the report were being protected as Brown has said, "there are people's names there and we don't really want to do that."

On Friday, Eskom told Business Day a slightly different version of events. It said:

"Having robustly reviewed the report, the board found that there were no new issues that were revealed by the review, thus confirming the board's assessment of the areas of improvement that was required to turnaround the business," said the state-owned electricity producer in a reply to questions.

"This invariably prompted the board to question the value of a continued review, given the time constraints as well as costs being incurred. Consequently, the board decided to start a rigorous implementation process of the recommendations immediately."

Releasing the report at the time it was presented to the board on June 25, 2015 would have had an adverse effect on employee morale, it said.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reported this weekend that former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe could become a Member of Parliament. Molefe resigned from Eskom in November 2016 after being fingered by a report by the Public Protector.

But the Sunday Times said the ANC in the North West had requested that Molefe become an MP, adding to rumours that he would be named Minister of Finance in a rumoured cabinet reshuffle.