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Eskom takes DA to court over defamatory remarks

Mar 08 2017 19:30
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – Eskom has filed court papers at the Western Cape High Court, against the Democratic Alliance (DA) over “defamatory” statements the party made against the power utility and acting chief executive, Matshela Koko.

This follows a report titled "DA to PAIA R27 million Eskom report", by MP Natasha Mazzone which was published on January 31, 2017.

It labels Eskom as being “entangled in a web of lies, contradictions and inaccuracies”. It also takes aim at Koko, saying he is among those within the top ranks implicated in corruption.

In response Koko said: “It has become a hobby of some organisations to publicly cast aspersions on people and throw wild accusations without facts, without any regard for people’s reputations.”

“We are therefore seeking the court’s protection from abuse of power, cheap politicking and public grandstanding that has been at the centre of the Democratic Alliance’s public campaign against Eskom.”

Koko said that Eskom's position on the Dentons report is a matter of public record. "We are open to engage political parties in parliament as required by the law.”

Mazzone confirmed to Fin24 that the DA had received the summons and already submitted their intention to defend.

The DA initially submitted an application to access the Dentons report on Eskom, under the promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA). However a redacted version of the report was released.  

READ: Public must apply to see Dentons report - Eskom chair

Eskom has come under scrutiny for not releasing the report to the public. The investigation conducted by global law firm Dentons was undertaken to identify reasons for load shedding at the time and delays in infrastructure build, among others.

It was cut short after three months as the board decided to implement changes recommended by Dentons as part of a turnaround strategy.

Dentons however was prepared to continue the investigation as there were areas that warranted further probing, according to a representative from the firm, South African managing partner Noor Kapdi.

Mazzone explained to Fin24 that the party intends to ensure that “anyone who is implicated in wrongdoing” is held to account, which is why the submission was made to gain access to the full report.

Mazzone said Public Enterprise Minister Lynne Brown agreed that full access to the report should be granted for it to be studied in its entirety. 

“We will check that all remedial actions are taken to rectify any and all problems identified in the report,” said Mazzone.

ALSO READ: Eskom Dentons report shows serious breaches

Fin24 previously reported that the Dentons report revealed financial abuses by the power utility.

Dentons raised concerns over the manner in which Eskom awarded contracts for the supply of diesel and coal.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

eskom  |  load shedding  |  da  |  dentons  |  power
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