Scandal-ridden power utility Eskom sought permission to deviate from normal procurement processes on contracts worth R31.3 billion during the 2016-17 financial year.
This was revealed by acting National Treasury chief procurement officer Willie Mathebula when he was briefing MPs yesterday.
In total, Treasury received requests from departments and state entities to condone R37 billion worth of deviations.
Treasury regulations permit accounting officers to seek permission to deviate from supply-chain procurement policies when it is impossible to invite competitive bids in order to procure goods and services.
Mathebula, in his first appearance in parliament since replacing Schalk Human a few months ago in a highly criticised decision opposition parties claimed was linked to the “state capture” project, had a torrid time explaining to MPs how the department received 800 requests in total.
When asked whether Treasury had a framework that guided it in terms of the repudiation of those requests, Mathebula appeared to be out of his depth. Unhappy MPs appeared unsettled by further suggestions that Treasury wanted to scrap its regulations regarding requests for applications.
Mathebula’s presentation further revealed 260 requests for deviation came from Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), with the balance of the requests coming from Transnet and the SABC.
Eskom’s contract review related to the verification of the utility’s compliance with the supply-chain management framework when appointing coal suppliers.
The Business Day reports the R31.3 billion request raised new questions about governance at Eskom, which is in the throes of state-capture allegations involving the Gupta family.
Eskom is currently demanding that consultancy firm McKinsey, with its partner, the politically connected Trillian consultancy, repay a total of R1.6 billion in fees, saying the contract that facilitated this did not meet legal requirements.