I will today write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, requesting that she urgently summon Eskom’s Acting Finance Director, Nonkululeko Veleti, to appear before the Committee. Ms Veleti must explain why, when Eskom is so evidently cash-strapped, it is issuing costly catering contracts and food subsidies for employees ranging from 50%-80%.
The food subsidy bill must be brought before the Committee to allow Parliament to comprehensively scrutinise if such expenditure is warranted.
The Portfolio Committee must perform its constitutionally mandated oversight role in the best interests of all South Africans.
This follows media reports that about 17 000 people — 37% of all Eskom staff— have access to dining facilities and canteens that provide subsidised meals. This is at a time when electricity prices have been hiked by 12.69% for direct customers and 14.25% for municipalities, and government intends to sell off assets to raise a R 23-billion promised bailout for Eskom.
The additional cost of providing these subsidised hot meals is estimated to run into billions of Rands.
The fact that Eskom management and Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown, have so far failed to answer questions on this decadence is 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.
Issued by DA