National Union of Mineworkers FILE PHOTO

Business In The News South Africa

Eskom ‘galloping’ towards financial distress, says NUM

JOHANNESBURG, July 20 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Thursday said Eskom was heading for financial distress despite the power utility’s assurances this week that it was on firm financial footing.

Eskom released its 2016/17 financial results on Wednesday in which it said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) surged 14.4 percent to R37.5 billion in the year ended 31 March 2017, up from R32.8 billion in same period last year.

Eskom also said that its cost-cutting measures resulted in a saving of R20.2 billion. The savings were achieved from coal operational expenditure and other operating costs.

Reacting to the Eskom financial results NUM coordinator in the energy sector, Paris Mashego, painted a different picture saying Eskom profits had dipped significantly

“The Eskom response to this poor performance is to embark on cost cutting measures, always directed at our members and other employees. We call upon the board chairperson to convene an urgent meeting with the NUM to discuss the crisis.

“The net profit has declined from R4.6 billion to R1 billion. This indicates that Eskom is galloping towards financial distress.”

In another development Eskom said suspended former chief executive Matshela Koko would appear before a disciplinary committee to face charges of corruption and nepotism.

The power utility said that it would also charge Koko with conflict of interest following Eskom’s awarding of R1 billion worth of contracts to Impulse International while his stepdaughter, Koketso Choma, was a director and a 35 percent shareholder at the firm.

Koko initially said he was not aware of the contracts awarded to his is daughter’s firm, but board chairperson Zethembe Khoza on Wednesday said Eskom sought legal advice which suggested the suspended acting CEO had a case to answer.

While NUM “welcomed” Eskom’s decision to take disciplinary action against Koko, Mashego said his union was demanding a probe into all corrupt activities to be done by an independent judge appointed by the minister.

“We demand that all affected directors allegedly involved in corruption in the current and previous board must resign, [and that] the minister must convene a forum for all stakeholders to discuss the management and control of all state-owned enterprises.”

– African News Agency (ANA)

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