Following claims by Carte Blanche on Sunday of “gross irregularities, overspending, maladministration and possible corruption” at Eskom’s Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme hydroelectric power station on the border of Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) is calling for an independent inquiry into the financial management and auditing controls at the utility.
“Gross overspending on the Ingula project has become a serious issue,” said Ivan Herselman, Outa’s legal affairs director, in a statement yesterday. “We furthermore believe that had Eskom ensured proper audit controls and management of contractor accountability, the overspending and irregularities would not have happened.
“We find the regular repetition of excessive runaway costs of large capital expenditure projects at Eskom a gross violation of the Public Finance Management Act and fiduciary duties of the management and board at Eskom.
“Any serious overexpenditure … needs to be thoroughly and independently investigated.” Last week, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa ruled that Eskom’s approved electricity tariff increase would be reviewed. The Outa spokesperson noted that Eskom’s track record on capital expenditure projects at Medupi, Kusile and others could be described as nothing short of “diabolical”.
He said Outa would be accessing “all avenues open to it” to have the matter thoroughly investigated.