One of Eskom's most senior executives tried to wangle a contract for his lover and mother of his child to supply building material for the Kusile Power Station in Mpumalanga. The women is a pastor in the Eastern Cape and seemingly had no experience in the construction industry.
Abram Masango, who was group executive for group capital until his suspension in 2018, fathered a child with the Uitenhage woman, whom he sought out for "spiritual guidance".
According to a Bowmans draft progress report, Masango allegedly used his influence at Eskom to try and arrange contracts for a company where the woman was suddenly appointed director.
This seemingly included for the supply of subbase materials, used in the construction of Kusile's foundations, coal supply and haulage.
Emails and forensic reports in the Eskom Files reveal that Masango wasn't only a central figure in the expansive alleged corruption scheme related to the multibillion-rand Kusile Power Station in Mpumalanga, he also seemingly tried to provide for his love child by attempting to facilitate supplier contracts.
According to the Eskom Files, a leaked trove of documents, including thousands of pages of letters, forensic reports, emails and bank statements – law firm Bowmans was investigating Masango's links to alleged slush fund, Babinatlou Business Services.
Masango also allegedly benefitted from "kickbacks" from Kusile contractors.
Masango's involvement with the woman, who cannot be identified in order to protect the minor child, is detailed in emails, correspondence and a forensic report prepared for Eskom by Bowmans in 2019.
Emails between Masango and his lover reveal how Masango tried to assist in her business dealings, including facilitating communication with Eskom officials.
Masango's lawyer told News24 that he could not comment on the matter, which "may be the subject matter of litigation".
The National Prosecuting Authority last week successfully seized assets belonging to Masango and various other former Eskom executives – including Masango's subordinate Frans Hlakudi – and executives of Tubular Construction Projects, Tony Trindade and Mike Lomas.
Tubular was one of the Kusile contractors that paid millions of rand in alleged kickbacks.
They face charges of corruption, fraud and money-laundering.
Masango contacted the woman, then a pastor of Hope Ministries in Uitenhage, in July 2012 in need of a "spiritual mentor and entrepreneurial coach". But based on an email Masango sent her, Bowmans pointed out that his motive was seemingly not "spiritual or altruistic."
"What is clear is that Masango was planning something for which he required [the woman's] assistance," Bowmans said.
According to Bowmans, "Within a month of this correspondence, on 6 August 2012, [the woman] was appointed as a director of [a company] and on 29 August 2012 […] sent an email to Masango advising the name of her company and the extent of the coal with which she could provide Eskom."
Based on an email contained in the report, Masango put the woman in touch with an Eskom official, saying there were "a lot of small coal suppliers who wants [sic] to participate in supplying Eskom with coal".
He further requested the official contact her directly.
It seems that throughout, the woman kept Masango in the loop on her business dealings, according to the report, and emails contained in the report show that she forwarded company requests and contract information to Masango almost as soon as she received them.
On 3 October 2012, the woman forwarded a construction company's enquiry into whether she could put a fleet together for Kendal Power Station, "on the same day [she] forwarded the email to Masango", Bowmans said.
On 14 October 2012 she was sent details of a transport contract. "On the following day [she] forwarded the email to Masango," Bowmans said.
MORE THAN COMMERCIAL OR SPIRITUAL
Things seemed to have gotten complicated between the two and, according to Bowmans, much more personal.
"It seems that Masango and [the woman's] relationship was more than just commercial, or even spiritual, and on 12 February 2013 she sent him an email berating him for suppressing the fact [in order to protect his marriage] that they had had a child together," Bowmans said.
She seemed to have also benefitted from favours from Masango, over and above his corporate assistance, and, according to Bowmans, she "sent him a quotation for the repair of her Mercedes Benz GL350 motor vehicle in 2014".
By March 2014, she was seemingly appointed CEO and a shareholder of another business that secured a contract with mining company AfriMat to supply subbase materials to Kusile.
Andries van Heerden, AfriMat CEO, said they had contracted the company for a short time, adding that Masango was not involved in the decision.
"By October 2018, [the woman] was a director (or member) of 33 companies or close corporations and had been a director or member of another 11 which had been deregistered," Bowmans said.
Many of these companies deal with mining and coal. In 2017 Babinatlou paid R1 million into her business.
It is unclear what these payments related to and whether the coal or fleet contracts had materialised.
In 2018, Eskom charged Masango with gross misconduct and abuse of his position concerning alleged kickbacks he received from Kusile contractors.
Abram Masango was suspended for alleged kickbacks he received from Kusile contractors.
The power utility subsequently suspended him before he resigned.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said they had no record of the woman's companies on the Eskom vendor list.
– News 24