Mathebula concerned about costly deviations by SOEs, depts

Mathebula’s told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance that Eskom incurred more than R31 billion through deviations and R33 billion in expansions and variations.

Treasury’s acting chief procurement officer Willie Mathebula. Picture: Gaye Davis/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - New acting Chief Procurement Officer Willie Mathebula says he’s worried about the huge amounts racked up by state departments and entities through deviations from normal procurement processes and contract changes and extensions.

Mathebula’s told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance that Eskom incurred more than R31 billion through deviations and R33 billion in expansions and variations to contracts during the past financial year.

Mathebula appeared before the committee for the first time since his appointment a month ago in a move critics viewed as a bid to weaken Treasury’s efforts to crack down on irregular spending on goods and services.

Mathebula faced hard questions from Members of Parliament (MPs) across parties, with his presentation slammed for lacking detail and failing to answer specific questions, such as the review of all state contracts over R10 million, including Eskom’s controversial Tegeta coal deal.

His list of just the top 10 departments and entities who had deviations and changes to contracts approved reflected a total amount of nearly R80 billion.

“You saw the numbers in terms of how much has been approved just within one year. It’s an area that we need to make sure that there’s a committee that sits and deals with these issues because these are huge, huge issues within the procurement system.”

Mathebula says they’re considering creating a committee of top Treasury officials to consider future applications and stronger powers for his office to monitor compliance.