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Parliament urged to put Eskom’s finances under microscope when inquiry starts

The parliamentary inquiry initially was to focus on Eskom’s controversial re-appointment of Brian Molefe as CEO.

FILE: Picture: EWN.

PARLIAMENT - Parliament’s Public Enterprises Committee has been urged to put Eskom’s finances under the microscope when its inquiry into the power utility gets underway.

The SA Council of Churches, lobby group Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and the university-based State Capacity Research Project briefed the committee on Tuesday on their research into and findings on state capture.

The parliamentary inquiry initially was to focus on Eskom’s controversial reappointment of Brian Molefe as CEO.

But since the revelations of the leaked Gupta emails, it’s been broadened to scrutinise the state-owned company’s governance and procurement.

Outa’s Ted Blom, a former long-serving Eskom employee, highlighted Eskom’s irregular expenditure of R3 billion, revealed last week in its latest annual financial statements.

Blom says this means R3 billion was paid out without any source documentation, spelling out how much and to whom.

But he says Eskom’s accounting system, SAP, requires such details before a payment is processed.

“All I can conclude is that from this statement, where R3 billion was processed without source documents, is that somewhere in Eskom, there's either somebody with a golden key that can override the SAP system. And we know that SAP has been receiving money from the Gupta family, or alternatively, there’s an old cheque book that hasn't been burnt, and is running in parallel to the SAP system.”

Blom also claims he has evidence that load shedding in 2008 and 2014 was “self-inflicted" by Eskom.

The committee is expected to summon among its witnesses President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma and his business associate Ajay Gupta as well as former Eskom board chair Ben Ngubane.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)