A lesson in buck-passing

2013-07-14 10:00

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba and his colleagues at Eskom gave us a masterclass in passing the buck this week.

The delay in constructing the Medupi Power Station was everybody’s fault but Eskom’s. This after Gigaba previously said heads would roll if the project wasn’t completed by December this year. Yeah, right.

First we were told the delays were caused by Alstom and Hitachi – the multinationals contracted by Eskom to construct Medupi.

This implies that these companies – to which we give money – are so powerful that they can unilaterally delay a project of national interest.

Penalties were issued, but these are being challenged in court. Remember, Hitachi is 25% owned by the ANC’s investment arm, Chancellor House.

Why did Gigaba and Eskom chief executive Brian Dames take so long to crack the whip? And when they did, why with kid gloves? With the ruling party’s financial fortunes directly tied to those of Hitachi, were Gigaba and Dames under pressure to tread lightly?

At his press briefing on Wednesday, Gigaba announced that he would “dispatch” his director-general and senior Eskom executives to Paris to meet with Alstom in order to “express our displeasure at the delays, get first-hand information and understanding of the causes for the delays as well as the remedial steps they will speedily take to get the project back on track”.

With all respect, Mr Minister, this is a bit too late. The tenders were awarded in 2007. Six years later and you still don’t have “first-hand information” on what caused the delay?

The truth is that Eskom and its project managers were asleep at the wheel. Outgoing financial director Paul O’Flaherty’s attempts to shift the blame to the construction companies and their labour disputes also don’t fly.

The buck stops with Dames and Gigaba. They should be big enough to take the flak.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.