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Scopa members fuming after Eskom board cancels meeting via text message

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) has had to postpone a meeting with Eskom after being told at the eleventh hour that the board could not attend.

FILE: Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa. Picture: @MkhulekoHlengwa/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Eskom’s board is in hot water with Parliament’s public finance watchdog, Scopa.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) has had to postpone a meeting with Eskom after being told at the eleventh hour that the board could not attend.

The committee was to have been briefed on outstanding matters related to the investigation into chief operating officer, Jan Oberholzer, among other things.

Eskom group CEO Andre de Ruyter and a large management delegation, including Oberholzer, were present in the virtual meeting but it was decided that it could not go ahead without the board being present.

Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa has told Eskom boss, Andre de Ruyter, to convey a strong message to the board after he was informed by text message that it could not attend today’s meeting.

"For it (the text message) to have arrived this morning is for me the fundamental issue because in the absence of the board, they know we can’t proceed. They are the accounting authority."

African National Congress (ANC) member of Parliament (MP) Bheki Hadebe said that for the board to excuse itself by text message at the last minute was "completely unacceptable". Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Alf Lees agreed. Hlengwa said that the committee has had issues with the board previously.

"We’ve been down this road with Eskom before," Hlengwa told De Ruyter. "It must be understood, CEO, even though I will be sending correspondence to communicate to the board our grave disquiet and dissatisfaction."

Board member Pulane Molokwane told the meeting that she and another board member had joined the meeting late after being given an incorrect link, but their presence cut no ice with the committee, which wanted the entire board present.

The meeting’s been rescheduled for next Wednesday.

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