Eskom can only handle R200bn of debt on the basis of its earnings figures, which is why they want to transfer R250bn of their debt to the government.
This is part of Eskom’s debt plan that was discussed with Parliament’s standing committee on allocations on Tuesday evening – on the eve of the medium-term budget and the same day a policy document was issued on Eskom.
The meeting with the Eskom board comes after the committee made an oversight visit to Eskom’s offices two weeks ago.
As fate would have it, the committee’s visit to Eskom was the same day that load shedding was suddenly resumed.
The committee chairman, Sfiso Buthelezi, said Tuesday’s meeting was arranged because the committee could not get all the answers to his questions when he visited Eskom that day. He was also unable to contact the board directly.
Eskom gave more details on Tuesday evening about the tasks of the restructuring chief who was appointed earlier. This person will be responsible for liaising with banks and all holders of Eskom bonds regarding its debt restructuring.
He will liaise with the government, the Eskom board and with credit rating agencies on his plans and progress.
On load shedding, Jabu Mabuza, chairman of Eskom, admitted that Eskom could have communicated about it earlier and better.
He explained that R6 billion was spent on diesel power generation in the previous financial year, which is a large part of the loss of more than R20 billion they suffered in that financial year.
Sindi Mabaso-Koyana, non-executive director of Eskom and chairman of its audit committee, assured the committee that there are teams currently working to determine where all the irregular spending is occurring at Eskom. All contracts exceeding R1bn are being reviewed In the 2018 financial year, there was R21 billion of irregular expenditure, and in the 2019 financial year, it was reduced to R6 billion.
Committee members said they learned during their oversight visit that there were double and even triple payments for certain contracts at Eskom. One supplier admitted that Eskom paid her R1bn too much, said one committee member, and asked how much other people there were they didn’t know about.