In a statement released this week, AfriForum says it is concerned over Eskom’s debt, which rose with 13,6% to R367 billion. The electricity supplier’s financial statement for the semester up until the end of September also shows that income for this period decreased with 2% to R95,5 billion.
Dr Eugene Brink, Strategic Advisor for Community Affairs at AfriForum says “while the low 2,2% electricity tariff increase approved for the 2017/2018 financial year by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), as well as municipalities owing Eskom money is understandable, this growing debt is not only attributed to these factors. Maladministration, corruption and excessively high bonusses for the previous board of directors and management also played a major role”.
In the light of this AfriForum will continue to apply pressure to Eskom to get its house in order and appeal that greater room be allowed for private electricity supply.
Brink says that Eskom currently still has a state guarantee of R350 billion and that more lifelines are unfair in the light of the electricity supplier’s problems and lack of performance. “A new board of directors has indeed been appointed and the rotten apples are busy disappearing, but communities have paid for Eskom’s self-created problems for far too long. Eskom must now first prove that they themselves can do something about this and therefore the compensation of top management must be revised while irregularities with inter alia the prescribed supply chain management process must also be addressed urgently,” says Brink.
Private electricity supply remains an important objective to help solve problems, says Brink. “Eskom’s problems are serious and they have a limited capability to provide electricity to a stronger economy and communities. Therefore, private supply is an increasing necessity.”