JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's troubled power utility, Eskom appeared before the Public Enterprises Committee in Parliament today, where the utility was questioned on its annual report, financial statement and its corporate plan.

Eskom was expected to present its annual report and financial statements for the 2017-2018 financial year.

Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe told Parliament’s Public Enterprises Committee that Eskom would need at least 2 years to get over the coal shortages that the company faces. 

He added that the Gupta-owned Tegeta mine was one of the main factors that led to the company's coal shortages. 

The debt owed to Eskom by South Africa's municipalities continues to grow and had reached R17 billion, Cooperative Governance Minister Zweli Mkhize told MPs on Tuesday last week.

"We have noted that debt stood at R14.3 billion and currently has gone up to R17 billion and that's just for Eskom and a similar rise is there for the water aspect," Mkhize said while briefing Parliament's standing committee on public accounts on the work of an advisory panel established to look into the systemic problem of municipalities debt owed to Eskom and water boards for bulk electricity and water provision.

While the panel had concluded its work "on the electricity side", more work needed to be done on the debt owed to water boards.

"Eskom has been under financial challenges for the past 8 years, one way we managed to cut costs was on the maintenance costs," Hadebe told the committee. 

Eskom said that it managed to cut costs on maintenance at the utility by 50% during the past four years. 

Acting CFO Calib Cassim told the portfolio committee that capital spending on Eskom’s existing assets was R30bn in 2014 and it fell to R17bn by 2018. 

Hadebe added that Eskom did not manage maintenance in the way that they should have. 


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