Portfolio committee to visit Eskom head office

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JOHANNESBURG, February 1 (ANA) – The South African parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises will on Thursday visit power utility Eskom’s head office as part of its oversight role on the embattled state-owned company.

The committee is currently holding an inquiry into corporate governance failures at Eskom and has heard testimony from previous executives and governement representatives on how personal friends of President Jacob Zuma have allegedly exerted undue influence on its running. The president and is allies have denied any wrongdoing.

Eskom on Tuesday admitted it was facing “significant financial challenges” when it reported that its revenue for the six months to 30 September 2017 fell two percent to R96 billion, cash from operating activities dropped 30 percent to R22 billion and its debt rose to over R300 billion.

The company also said its liquid assets had declined to R9 billion from R30 billion the previous year.

A new board led by businessman Jabu Mabuza and an acting group chief executive Phakamani Hadebe have been appointed. The board has undertaken to crack the whip on executives implicated in corruption and malfeasance.

On Wednesday Eskom suspended former acting chief executive Sean Maritz over the controversial payment of R1.6 billion payment to Trillion Capital, and preferred new charges against its head of generation Matshela Koko while putting him on suspension.

The parliament committee will use its visit on Thursday to meet the new board and establish a working relationship intended to ensure the viability of the company. The board and the acting chief executive are expected to outline plans to deal with the governance and financial challenges facing the company.

The committee is also due to meet Eskom’s general staff.

– African News Agency (ANA)