The Democratic Alliance is demanding that R31m in bonuses paid to Eskom “directors” be “returned” to national treasury following Thursday’s rolling blackouts, the first since 2008’s power crisis.
The DA says it wants the money paid back so that it can be used to buy generators for hospitals and emergency services affected by the power cuts, which became necessary after heavy rains this week led to Eskom’s coal stocks becoming wet.
The opposition party said it was basing the R31m figure on information published in Eskom’s financial statements last year.
It said “board members” that must pay back their bonuses included outgoing CEO Brian Dames and former chief financial officer Paul O’Flaherty. Other “directors” named by the DA are Bhabhalazi Bulunga, Thava Govender, Erica Johnson, Steve Lennon, Dan Marokane, Ayanda Noah and Mongezi Ntsokolo.
However, the people listed in the party’s statement are or were all members of Eskom’s executive committee rather than its board of directors. Only Dames and O’Flaherty were on the board.
“Given the unacceptable power crisis we currently find ourselves in, and the reasons for South Africa still experiencing rolling blackouts six years after the last period of rolling blackouts, they neither deserve nor can they reasonably justify awarding themselves bonuses for good performance,” DA MP Natasha Michael said in the statement.
“When board members are unable to deliver on their mandate, they should get warning letters, not bonuses.”
Michael said the deadline for completion of the Medupi power station project has been moved out three times due to what she called “Eskom’s mismanagement”.
She said the Eskom board had “simply raised prices and let South Africa down”, harming businesses and costing jobs.
“South Africans are rightly furious with Eskom rewarding itself when numerous delays in the construction of the Medupi power station, which has resulted in the project being significantly over-budget, has left our grid without the necessary capacity to deal with external challenges such as heavy rains,” she added.
“It is both shameful and unforgiveable that six years after our last energy crisis we are back to square one. There must be accountability for this monumental failure that has let South Africa down. Eskom’s directors should start this process by handing over their bonuses without delay.” — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media