The outspoken Mzwanele “Jimmy” Manyi yesterday opened a case at the offices of the public protector in Tshwane relating to R100 billion lost by Eskom under the watch of former finance ministers Trevor Manuel, Nhlanhla Nene and current Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
He said the rampant looting in South Africa must come to an immediate halt.
Manyi opened the case on behalf of The Decolonisation Foundation and said it requested the office to investigate what seems to be the dereliction of duty by National Treasury in carrying out its mandate as enjoined by the constitution.
He said the foundation would like to know if National Treasury approved the initial 2007 tender price of R69.1 billion for the Medupi and Kusile power stations respectively.
His complaint comes a week after Gordhan, Ivan Pillay and Johann van Loggerenberg were asked by the Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigations (Hawks) to present themselves to the unit in relation to alleged spying while they worked at the SA Revenue Service. Gordhan refused.
Manyi said although National Treasury had a reputation for being a very competent department, it seemed there were basic lapses by people in public service who may have been derelict in their duty. He said it was important for law enforcement organs of the state to investigate possible criminality in this regard.
He said international benchmarks seemed to suggest that in 2007, the cost to build such coal power stations was about $1m/ GW.
“This means the two power stations, estimated to produce a combined 96GW, should have cost the country about R100 billion if an exchange rate is conservatively rounded off to 1:10,” Manyi told reporters in front of the offices of the public protector. “Yet the tenders issued were in excess of R200 billion.
“If my calculations are correct, this means on day one the costs were already about R100 billion above the benchmark.”
He said the estimated R83 billion was reported to be due to delays and questioned whether penalty clauses were really absent, just not enforced or were left out to leak funds from the state.
“Eskom has been hit from all sides. On the one hand there are cost escalations related to delays, while on the other hand there are billions of rands that Eskom has had to pay to coal producers such as Exxaro and other electrical/cable suppliers who could not supply because Eskom was not ready.”
Senior spokesperson at the public protector Oupa Segalwe yesterday confirmed that they had received a complaint from Manyi and it would be subjected to a standard investigation process to establish whether the office had jurisdiction over the issues raised, as well as to ascertain whether there was any merit to the claims.