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Public Must Apply To See Dentons Report - Eskom Chair

Investigation into Eskom was cut short after just three months

07/02/2017 16:54 SAST | Updated 07/02/2017 16:56 SAST
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Eskom claims minister Lynne Brown has not found the Dentons report inadequate.

Eskom chairperson Baldwin Ngubane refuted reports that Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has said the Dentons report was "inadequate".

Ngubane was speaking during a question and answer session following a briefing on an investigation by global law firm Dentons conducted in 2015. The briefing was held at Megawatt Park on Tuesday.

The findings of the report have not been widely released, on the grounds that it contains confidential information which Eskom says it has a duty to protect. Members of the public who wish to see the report need to apply within the framework of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia).

According to Ngubane, the investigation was launched to identify problem areas contributing to load shedding at the time and delays in infrastructure projects, among other things. The investigation was halted after three months, as the board decided to implement changes recommended by Dentons as part of a turnaround strategy.

A representative from Dentons, South African managing partner Noor Kapdi said that the firm was prepared to continue the investigation as there were areas that warranted further probing. "The report is complete. Is the investigation incomplete? In my view, not by a long shot," said Kapdi. He explained that it is the client's prerogative to require further investigation.

But Eskom was "happy" with the findings at that stage and conducted a trade-off, to either drag out the investigation or start implementing the turnaround strategy, said Ngubane. "We marked the findings in terms of what was useful for the turnaround. There was an urgency to create a turnaround credible to the war room, our ministry, the DPE (Department of Public Enterprises) and stakeholders," he said.

"Dentons explained why we were in the state we were [in]." Ngubane said for this reason, the report was not useless.

"We had load shedding, hasn't that changed?" asked Ngubane. "The company was depleted of financial resources ... We came in, we got Dentons. They brought financial experts and gurus, today we have R28m ebitda in our books.

"We now have a situation where planned maintenance exceeds unplanned maintenance which is why we have a reserve of 3 000MW," he said. "The general tone of the organisation is very good. We have a workable organisation which was not possible before we came in. Just give us a bit of credit."

He added that the work conducted in the three months of the "intensive" investigation set out pointers for the power utility which is still being implemented. Ngubane said that claiming Brown called the investigation inadequate was "putting words in her mouth".

This is in response to reports by BusinessLive that Brown said the "report is inadequate for usage within the company". Brown said it needed further investigations because it had only lasted three months. – Fin24