NEWS

Ngubane Warns We're At Risk Of 'Terrible' Load Shedding Reminiscent Of 2008

Tegeta didn't get preferential treatment, Brian Molefe tells committee.

30/05/2017 12:28 SAST | Updated 30/05/2017 16:10 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane ​​​​​​told a Parliamentary standing committee on Tuesday that South Africa could face extreme load shedding soon.

The warning came as the standing committee on public accounts heard PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) report on the coal supply agreements between Eskom and Gupta-owned Tegeta.

PwC was asked by Eskom to carry out an investigation, starting in 2015, into alleged contraventions of government's rules on supply chain management in the contract. Treasury also launched its own probe, starting in 2015.

Ngubane said, according to News24, the country might face load shedding again as the power utility is not stockpiling coal for winter.

"Remember the terrible load shedding in 2008. This is what allowed unsolicited bids. We shouldn't have such pressure. But now there is risk of load shedding again as we are not getting authorisation to stockpile coal for winter," Ngubane was reported to have said.

Responding to questions about Tegeta's quality of coal, Eskom CEO Brian Molefe told the committee: "When we did get allegations that Tegeta coal was not up to standard, we suspended the contract in August in 2016. We had to send coal to the South African Bureau of Standards. When it came back, we lifted the suspension. So they didn't get preferential treatment."

Molefe reportedly added: "Awarding without a tender is an unsolicited bid. The rules designed by Eskom in 2008 allowed Eskom to procure coal without a contract in place on an emergency basis ... We spent R75.4 billion on mines that are not black owned. We have now changed that. We don't do cost-plus mines anymore and tenders have to be competitive bids."