DA: Eskom must explain catering contracts

2015-05-03 14:40
(Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)

(Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)

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Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance on Sunday said it wants Eskom to explain to Parliament why the cash-strapped parastatal is spending a fortune on food subsidies for employees.

"The food subsidy bill must be brought before the committee to allow Parliament to comprehensively scrutinise if such expenditure is warranted," DA MP Natasha Mazzone said in a statement.

"The portfolio committee must perform its constitutionally mandated oversight role in the best interests of all South Africans."

Mazzone said she would write to the chairperson of the public enterprises committee asking that acting finance director Nonkululeko Veleti be summoned to Parliament to explain.

The Sunday Times reported that about 17 000 people, or 37% of all Eskom staff, had access to dining facilities and canteens that provided subsidised meals.

In addition, contractors building the new Medupi and Kusile power stations were getting hot meals at an additional cost estimated to exceed R1.5bn.

This emerged while the power utility was facing financial difficulties and power generation problems.

According to Sunday Times, despite the financial crisis Eskom's catering contracts continued to be issued. The subsidies ranged from 50% to 80% per meal.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told the paper that Eskom's operational and capital expenditure was under scrutiny to find ways to cut costs.

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said it was an operational matter which Eskom was better placed to respond to.

Mazzone said the fact that Brown and Eskom's management had failed to answer questions regarding the catering was "an insult in the context of regular load shedding".

"Eskom should be ensuring that all operational expenditure is aimed at addressing load shedding and completing Medupi and Kusile without any further delay.

"Expenditure that is not operationally imperative, at this time in Eskom’s history, is a blatant extravagance and a slap in the face for South Africans who have been asked to tighten their belts."

Read more on:    eskom  |  lynne brown

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