Home South African Eskom spent R1.3 billion to keep SA’s lights on over only three...

Eskom spent R1.3 billion to keep SA’s lights on over only three months

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In the last financial year, the entity spent under R7bn on its diesel plants and R3.5bn on diesel used by independent power producers plants between April 2021 and March 2022.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Sarah Makoe

POWER utility Eskom has spent more than R1.3 billion just to keep the lights on during the first three months of the year.

This is according to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan when he was responding to parliamentary questions from Freedom Front Plus MP Wynand Boshoff.

Boshoff wrote to Gordhan to inquire about the diesel that has been used in the generation of electricity at Eskom since January and the total price that the utility paid for the diesel.

In his written reply, Gordhan said Eskom utilised 110,141,069 litres of diesel for the generation of electricity at two of its open cycle gas turbine stations from January 1 to March 24.

“The total cost of the amount above is R1,385.9 million,” he said.

The revelation comes as Eskom will be the subject of debate of national importance in Parliament on Thursday.

“The National Assembly hybrid plenary will hold a debate on a matter of national public importance, to be led by the chief whip of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Mr Narend Singh, on the energy crisis and threat of a protracted failure of Eskom,” spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.

The amount spent on diesel also comes against the backdrop of R626m in diesel spent on about 48.5 million litres last month alone.

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said at the time that spending on diesel was not ideal as the diesel-powered gas generators were important in producing enough power to meet peak demand in the evenings.

In the last financial year, the entity spent under R7bn on its diesel plants and R3.5bn on diesel used by independent power producers plants between April 2021 and March 2022.

Meanwhile, Gordhan said the business rescue for airline Mango and the acquisition of a strategic equity partner for SAA were at advanced stages.

Responding to parliamentary questions from ANC MP Carol Phiri, he said the department has transferred the last tranche of R399m from the total of R819m that was allocated to the airline for restructuring purposes.

“The last tranche was transferred on 28 March 2022 on conditions that not only should the business rescue process be completed around the end of April 2022, but that a viable strategic equity partner for Mango is identified that has financial capacity to fund the airline after it exits the business rescue process.”

The minister said the process of identifying a suitable strategic equity partner (SEP) for Mango was part of the conditions for transfer of the last tranche of R399m.

“The process which was initiated on 2 December 2021 is expected to be finalised in the next few months,” he said.

Gordhan added that the negotiations to conclude the SAA strategic equity partner process have reached an advanced stage.

“The agreement contains sensitive commercial information which if shared publicly may affect the conclusion of the deal. Furthermore, the Department of Public Enterprises has signed a non-disclosure agreement with Takatso to keep the details of the agreement confidential until such time that the process is concluded,” he said.

“We are therefore asking that the department be given a chance to conclude this agreement. The information will be submitted at an appropriate time when the process has been concluded,” he said.

DA MP Alf Lees inquired about the details of the agreement entered into by his department to dispose of 51% of SAA shares to Takatso Consortium and concerns that the National Treasury has with some of the terms and conditions agreed to.

Gordhan maintained that the National Treasury has not raised any concerns with the department that have not been responded to satisfactorily.

“The department and National Treasury are constantly sharing information with regards to the SEP process.”

Last month, Gordhan contradicted National Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane’s claims that his department played no role in disposal of shares in SAA to Takatso Consortium.

Cape Times

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