Parliament approves Special Appropriations Bill despite Eskom’s criticism

This Bill allows the Finance Minister to transfer money to Eskom without any pre-conditions to be met.



The National Assembly has approved the Special Appropriations Bill, which brings Eskom to the brink of gaining its R59 billion government bail-out over the next three years, as Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, laments the power utility’s problems are more than life-lines because competent management is required to upkeep its sustainability.

More than 100 MP’s opposed the Special Appropriation Bill being passed

On Tuesday, Parliament held an Eskom Special Appropriation Bill Debate, and the Bill will be sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

The debate was faced with fierce opposition as more than a hundred MP’s voted against the Bill being approved, and the DA has questioned Parliament’s naiveté with “trusting” Eskom with more money after R21 billion “disappeared” last year, and the party further accused the house of rewarding a culture of state capture, as the bill serves as a “blank cheque” and diminishes the importance of oversight and accountability for public money.

Tito Mboweni: “The problem at Eskom is not just financial”

Mboweni has emphasised that Eskom needs proper management and there is a need to apply a “complex theory” to gain long-lasting solutions for the sustainability of Eskom, as there is a dire need to understand the complexity of the issues the power utility is facing, in order to come up with “complex solutions”.

“So one of the key issues we need to solve is by appointing the correct people to run Eskom. That is what we need to do. We must appoint the correct board of directors, we must appoint a competent management team. And we must then be in a position to hold the board of directors and the management team accountable for the operations of Eskom. The problem at Eskom is not just financial.”

For the next decade, R23 billion has been allocated to Eskom annually

The government is scheduled to hand out R59 billion over the next two financial years, and R23 billion has been allocated to Eskom annually for the next 10 years; this bill allows the Finance Minister to transfer money to Eskom without any pre-conditions to be met.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has declared that Eskom has a “gun to the government’s head” and is ready to pull the trigger at any time if National Treasury “does not do its bidding”.

“The DA offered several amendments to this bill, including a provision that for as long as Eskom receives bailouts, its executives do not get bonuses. The public is tired of seeing their schools, hospitals and clinics crumble while SOEs consume resources meant for the poor and reward their mismanagement with bonuses. Another DA amendment that was rejected was that Eskom reviews all of its procurement contracts to eliminate cost inflation, that originated as a result of deals signed to benefit the Guptas and other state capturers.”