Cape Town – THE Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday grudgingly granted a postponement to Eskom to make a presentation on its 2019-20 annual report next week.
This after Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan made the request on Monday, saying Eskom was not ready to make a presentation on the annual report.
The power utility was initially sent correspondence on February 12 and 19 with Scopa arranging for morning session to deal with the annual report and investigations as well as the deviations and expansion of contracts in the evening session.
ANC MP Sakhumzi Somyo said when the department and Eskom were not ready to make a presentation on the annual report, they should be granted a postponement and reschedule time to get necessary information and documentation.
“If they are asking for such postponement, you give them the postponement, which is not later than seven days,” Somyo said.
DA MP Alf Lees said it was curious that Eskom was not ready to make a presentation considering that it submitted its annual report months ago.
“What exactly is the readiness that is required?” Lees asked.
His sentiment was echoed by his colleague Benedicta van Minen, who noted the entity was not ready to present something they should be familiar with.
ANC MP Bheki Hadebe said they should accede to the request in order to have meaningful oversight than malicious compliance.
Hadebe noted that it was not the first time first time the power utility made the request.
“It appears as if Eskom wants to get special treatment. That is based on sequence of events that occurred previously. The history speaks of such,” he said.
“We don’t take it kindly especially if the request was sent on February 12, well in advance,” he said.
EFF MP Veronica Mente said granting the postponement should not set precedence.
“For as long we postpone looking into matters of the past, we are delayed into looking matters of the present,” Mente said in reference to real-time oversight work.
“This excuse as much we accept it, it is highly unacceptable,” she said.
Eskom board chairperson Malegapuru Makgoba said there had been a misunderstanding of what was requested.
Makgoba said they were ready to make presentation on the annual report, and that they did not want to be treated as an exception.
“What we were requesting was that on February 19 we received another letter to have a different preparation (deviations and expansions) for which we needed the look documents Eskom was to be present to Scopa.
“That was what we requested to delay not the annual report presentation,” he said.
Gordhan told MPs there was a mix up in the letters sent by Scopa on February 12 and 19.
“Those are logistical matters to parliament,” he said.
“Nothing is being done to undermine the status of Scopa. I can assure you that Eskom and the ministry will do everything that has to be done,” he said.
Committee chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the correspondence was sent timeously and he had expected that Scopa would have been contacted if there was confusion.
He agreed to postpone the presentation on the annual report to next week, but the presentation on the deviation and expansion of contracts would continue on Tuesday evening on.