On 17 February 2016, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) lodged a formal complaint, evidence and detailed submission to the Competition Commission, alleging anti-competitive behaviour and abuse of dominant market position by Eskom, the national electricity utility of South Africa.
OUTA is a civil action organisation in South Africa that investigates, exposes, litigates and mobilises public opposition against what it sees as tax abuse, maladministration and corruption in the public and private sectors.
OUTA started out mobilising civil opposition to electronic tolling (e-tolls) on provincial highways in Gauteng by the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), and this has since extended to e-tolling nationally.
In 2016, OUTA further expanded its activities to include civil actions against South African Airways (SAA), the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Eskom, electricity price increases, the proposed carbon tax, and the proposed nuclear new-build in South Africa.
This latest submission and complaint to the Competition Commission comes after recent media exposés of Eskom malfeasance including:
- Massive time and cost overruns in the construction of Eskom’s 4800 MW Medupi and Kusile coal-fired power stations and 1333 MW Ingula pumped water storage scheme;
- An allegedly irregular R587-million payment by Eskom to Tegeta enabling the Gupta controlled company to buy Optimum Coal;
- The Dentons investigation and report into financial, operational and procurement irregularities at Eskom in the lead up to and aftermath of load shedding in 2014/15;
- The Deloitte report and subsequent investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into coal procurement irregularities before, during and after the load shedding of 2007/8; and
- The Public Protector’s report on State Capture in South Africa, which had a heavy emphasis on the allegedly irregular relationship between Eskom and the Gupta family, and led to the resignation of the former Eskom CEO.
A summary of OUTA’s case against Eskom has been extracted from its full submission to the Competition Commission, and is provided below for readers…