Treasury procurement head wants details on Eskom chair contract

Willie Mathebula also says that the process of appointing forensic auditors into supply chain breaches with Eskom coal contracts is underway.

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

CAPE TOWN – Acting Chief Procurement Officer Willie Mathebula says that his office will ask Eskom for details about its bid to expand a R72 million contract for chairs by a further R24 million.

Mathebula also told Eyewitness News that his office is concerned about the state of affairs at the beleaguered power utility.

He briefed Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance on Wednesday, facing tough questions from Members of Parliament (MPs) across parties.

He was appointed a month ago in a move criticised in some quarters as a bid to weaken Treasury's efforts to crack down on irregular spending.

Mathebula says that Eskom has racked up R37 billion through deviations from normal procurement processes for goods and services and R33 billion through contracts being expanded or changed, all approved by the Treasury in the past financial year.

Asked about a Sunday Times report that Eskom wanted Treasury approval for a R24 million expansion to a R72 million contract for chairs for staff and visitors, Mathebula told EWN he’d be taking action.

“We will follow that particular issue up and get to the bottom of it, exactly what has happened. We are concerned.

“You see, people think that perhaps we are not concerned about fighting corruption. We are. Like most of the public, we’re concerned when these things happen.”

Mathebula says that the process of appointing forensic auditors into supply chain breaches with Eskom coal contracts is underway, while his office will conduct internal probes into the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and Transnet.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)