‘Hysterical’ DA demands Eskom records

2014-11-11 14:48

Democratic Alliance MP Natasha Michael has demanded Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown supply Parliament with all maintenance records for the Majuba power station in Mpumalanga.

In what appears to be a continuation of the war of words between the two women, Michael today responded to Brown’s open letter criticising opposition parties for causing “hysteria” on issues relating to Eskom.

“Dear minister Brown. Your public commitment to provide the portfolio committee [on public enterprises] with information to help us in our oversight duties is duly noted and welcomed,” Michael said in response to Brown’s letter.

“I therefore request that the following information be made available to the portfolio committee as a matter of urgency – all maintenance records for the silos at Majuba power station, in particular the information relating to the quantity, quality and nature of coal stored in the silos.”

On November 1, a coal storage silo, which stored over 10 000 tons of coal, collapsed, affecting coal supplies to all six units at the Majuba power station -- resulting in rolling blackouts.

Trade union Solidarity said the silo had been showing signs of stress since January and Eskom had done nothing to correct the problem.

“Given previous media reports detailing Eskom’s widespread use of wet coal, I believe this is a legitimate concern that should be directly addressed by your department,” said Michael.

Michael also demanded information on who the principal contractors were for the Medupi and Kusile power stations, and all contracts relating to the two projects now under construction.

On Thursday Brown wrote that the committees of Parliament have been presented with so much information and views from Eskom, the department, and the ministry of public enterprises, that it was “hard to see” what information was left out.

“If you want more information on the timeline for maintenance of power stations, I am quite happy that you receive this,” she said.

“The fact that Eskom has serious challenges is quite apparent to everyone. The fact that it will take some time to reach the kind of electricity supply situation which we all desire has been stated repeatedly by Eskom and myself.”

Brown said that opposition parties should put aside point scoring and work with government to ensure investors gained confidence in the country.

She said investors gained confidence when all parties and stakeholders were committed to overcoming problems.

In her response, Michael said: “The current situation at Eskom and other SOEs is damaging to our economy and to our international reputation and cannot continue along the current trajectory of continual bailouts and failure to deliver.”

“I urge you to provide answers to the questions listed above so that we can get on with the work of fixing Eskom and the other [State Owned Enterprises] in a transparent manner.”

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