Politics / 31 August 2019, 12:58pm / Siyabonga mkhwanazi
Cape Town - CASH-strapped Eskom is in deep financial crisis with billions of rand in irregular expenditure. But in a report its auditors say no action has been taken against officials implicated.
The irregular expenditure is in addition to massive losses, escalating debt and maintenance costs amounting to hundreds of billions of rand.
Audited financial statements tabled in Parliament recently painted a gloomy picture of a company that is battling to stay afloat.
The power utility incurred irregular expenditure of R6.6 billion. But the full extent of irregular expenditure could not be determined due to non-compliance with the law.
The company is sitting with a debt of R440bn.
The independent auditor’s report stated that the R6.6bn in irregular expenditure was due to failure to comply with the law in contracts.
“The irregular expenditure includes amounts emanating from the modifications to contracts which were not conducted as required in terms of the Public Finance Management Act,” states the report.
“In addition, irregular expenditure was not always recorded at the correct amount,” it said.
It added auditors did not get any information on the action that was taken against officials implicated in irregular expenditure.
The report said some of the contracts were given without following tender processes at Eskom.
“We were unable to obtain sufficient, appropriate audit evidence that disciplinary steps were taken against officials who had incurred irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure as required by section 51 of the Public Finance Management Act,” said the report.
“We were unable to obtain sufficient, appropriate audit evidence that allegations of financial misconduct committed by members of the accounting authority and officials were investigated as required by Treasury regulation 33.1.3 and 33.1.1 respectively,” it added.
Eskom has been under pressure in the last few years with the company struggling to keep the lights on.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his State of the Nation Address that Eskom will be split into three units - for generation, distribution and transmission.
Former accountant-general Freeman Nomvalo has been appointed the chief restructuring officer at Eskom.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has said no state-owned entity would get a bailout without appointing a chief restructuring officer to keep an eye on it on the use of funds.
The government has given Eskom R230bn over the next few years, but has fast-tracked the release of the first tranche of R59bn.
The audited financial statements showed that the company would not be able to get out of trouble soon.
It is battling to stay afloat and depends on the government bailouts.