Andre de Ruyter, Group Chief Executive of state-owned power utility Eskom speaks during a media briefing in Johannesburg, South Africa, January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham
Andre de Ruyter, Group Chief Executive of state-owned power utility Eskom speaks during a media briefing in Johannesburg, South Africa, January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

Eskom bosses in hot water over poor record-keeping

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Nov 24, 2021

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Cape Town - Eskom's leaders found themselves in hot water yesterday when it emerged that they had failed to provide adequate documents in the auditing of their finances for the 2020-21 financial year.

This comes as Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts was intent on holding those responsible accountable.

ANC MP Bheki Hadebe noted that up to R11 billion in irregular expenditure was incurred and there was no sufficient record of the expenditure.

“Who is responsible for such? Hadebe asked.

The power utility's chief finance officer Calib Cassim maintained that the R11.7bn was a combination of new irregular expenditure in the year under review and amounts picked from previous years.

“The new transaction in the financial year is R2.2bn and half of it is for fuel oil emergencies,” Cassim said.

The auditor-general qualified Eskom for the fifth year in a row due to incomplete and inaccurate disclosure of irregular expenditure.

Eskom leaders were also found wanting on expenditure management, procurement and contract management, consequence management and revenue generation.

On Tuesday Cassim said they acknowledged the shortcoming and would ensure that the necessary record-keeping was in place.

But, Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said they wanted to know why there were no documents.

“Acknowledgement goes nowhere,” Hlengwa said.

Cassim claimed not to have the details with him and asked for time to furnish the specific details.

When pressed on disciplinary action, he showed slides which showed dismissals, warnings and suspensions and told MPS that they had a review committee that analysed the suppliers.

Hlengwa insisted that the slide did not say a lot because the committee wanted the details.

It was at this point that Hadebe said it was an offence to deceive, mislead or fail to keep accurate or complete records.

“We raise this not because we are petty. You have transgressed the Company’s Act. The audit team could not do their work,” he charged.

Hadebe said Eskom appeared to have not done anything about record-keeping.

“Did you act on the failure to keep records? Who are the guilty parties, what sanctions were imposed on the individuals?

“Surely you should have prepared a detailed report,” he said.

CEO Andre de Ruyter said there were annexures accompanying their report to Scopa with the names but asked the names be not distributed owing to investigations and court cases.

But, Hlengwa said they were asking why there was no record-keeping.

“What is the reason provided by those who should keep the records?” he said.

Hlengwa highlighted that they were insisting on the question because at Prasa there was a problem of poor record-keeping that led to minutes of the board not being compiled.

Cassim said many of their records were manually kept.

“We don’t have an automated system,” he said.

Cassim also said bringing the documents on time for audit purposes had proved a challenge as they did not meet the audit requirements.

“We need to automate that system in terms of record-keeping.”

Cassim said: “The monitoring, we have to improve.”

Hlengwa noted with concern that there appeared to have been no audit plan to attend to the record-keeping though it was a repeat finding.

“Why find wanting on a basic accounting procedure – record-keeping?” he said.

De Ruyter said they were dealing with the matter in accordance with their bigger obligations.

Board chairperson Malegapuru Makgoba said the board had communicated to the executives to do everything in their power to do away with repeat findings.

“That is a decision communicated to the CFO and his team,” Makgoba said, adding there had been some consequence management that took place since their appointment.

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Political Bureau

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