'Eskom is not in the business of rescuing other businesses'

The power utility has responded to media claims that it is willing to more than double the rate it's paying for coal in an effort to rescue Gupta-owned optimum coal mine.

FILE: Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe. Picture: Louise McAuliffe/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Eskom says revising the current contract with controversial Gupta-owned Tegeta on coal supply will be tantamount to Eskom shooting itself on the foot.

The power utility has responded to media claims that it is willing to more than double the rate it is paying for coal in an effort to rescue Gupta-owned Optimum Coal Mine.

Optimum is currently under business rescue.

Eskom’s Khulu Phasiwe says the power utility is not in the business of rescuing financially ailing businesses and merely expects suppliers to abide by their contractual obligations.

Phasiwe says the utility only wants coal from Optimum as per initial agreement and reports that there is a bailout project aimed at aiding optimum are false.

“All that we’re interested in is to make sure that we’ve got coal into those power stations and Eskom is not in the business of rescuing other businesses.”

Phasiwe says Eskom’s power stations are running low on coal but have processes underway to address the problem.

“We’re also in the process of finding new contracts, this follows the approval by the National Treasury. It gave us the green light.”

He says Eskom is not part of discussions on who is going to buy the mine which is now under business rescue and has no intentions to interfere.

Meanwhile, Eskom itself needs a bailout of at least R20 billion to be financially viable.