Eskom Group Chief Executive, Andre De Ruyter, says the power utility will approach National Treasury to request that the Swedish robotics company ABB be allowed to complete work in the Kusile Power Plant in order to mitigate the risk of load shedding.
An investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) along with the Hawks and FBI has found that the contract was awarded irregularly to ABB South Africa.
A settlement has now been reached between all parties that will see ABB repay Eskom an amount of R1.5 billion. De Ruyter has welcomed the move.
“Kusile is an ongoing project; it is about 90% complete and for Eskom to now approach the market and appoint a new contractor with different technology will probably cause us to incur a delay in the commissioning of Kusile which is already late for a further four years. We are going to be approaching the national treasury to approve that we continue with the execution of this work with ABB, with the provision that ABB will make no profit on the continued execution of this contract.”
De Ruyter was briefing the media in Pretoria. The briefing was attended by Ministers Pravin Gordhan and Ronald Lamola.
The SIU says all executives and employees of Eskom implicated in the irregular awarding of a contract to ABB will be held to account even though some have already left the power utility.
“We have made the finding of the executives that were responsible, the investigation has shown that they actually have since left the organisation but I indicated that the resignation from employment only terminates employer/employee relationship. We will pursue them civilly on civil litigation if there’s any indication that they have caused damage to Eskom. We will pursue them and of course as I indicated the criminal investigation is ongoing. So, let’s allow that process to proceed and at an appropriate time the decision will be made to get them to account criminally,” says Head of the SIU, advocate Andy Mothibi.
Media briefing on developments at Eskom:
Maruping construction site
Meanwhile, Eskom says it has approached the courts after a Northern Cape community shut down a construction site in Maruping near Kuruman. The power utility is building a much-needed substation in the area.
Gasegonyane municipality is unable to supply power to all its residents, due to a lack of capacity. The municipality complains that the ongoing protests by residents are delaying the project.
Eskom’s spokesperson, Stefanie Van Rensburg, says residents are preventing them from doing their work.
“The community of Maruping has on many occasions disrupted work at a substation, currently Eskom has removed the contractor from site as it is unsafe for them to work. They have also been some protests by other communities who are waiting for electricity and they have posed the risk on Eskom staff and on the ability to maintain our networks in the area. At this stage Eskom has approached the court to find reprieve as a community of Maruping is denying us on our mandate to provide power to our communities.”
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