Thats’s the shocking stats revealed by the magazine Engineering News who reports between 2009 and 2019, cash-strapped Eskom paid less than 50 suppliers almost R50 billion for diesel in a desperate attempt to keep South Africa’s lights on.
The stats were revealed after News24 used a Public Access to Information Act request to force Eskom to provide its diesel expenditure details for the past ten years. The news moguls also managed ti get the names of the suppliers.
Eskom would not provide the total paid to each separate supplier, citing confidentiality reasons contained in agreements.
News24 is in the process of vetting these suppliers, and so far has found that Eskom procured diesel from a copy-and-printing shop in Johannesburg, as well as some of the largest fuel and oil companies in the world.
The Sunday Times previously revealed that a former beautician and dentist are also among the suppliers of diesel to Eskom.
The data show the highest levels of expenditure on diesel occurred between March 2013 and March 2016 – a total of R33,4 billion – accounting for more than half of the diesel spend in the entire ten-year period in just three years.
In March, Eskom said it would set aside R50 billion to maintain its ageing fleet of coal-fired power stations over the next five years.
Saving face during elections
In 2014, Eskom spent R30 billion on maintenance, more than the three previous years combined, which it said in its integrated results was part of key maintenance strategies. In the same financial year, Eskom recorded its highest expenditure on diesel – R12 billion.
2014 was also a national election year.
The maintenance budget was slashed drastically, Eskom revealed recently.
In the 2018/19 financial year, Eskom spent R4,6 billion on diesel, again in the run-up to a national election, as the budget cuts on maintenance come back to haunt the power utility.