Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane starts probe into controversial IPPs
Johannesburg - The Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane is once again taking on another Goliath task after a leaked letter showed that she is investigating the controversial decision by financially struggling Eskom to sign agreements with independent power producers (IPPs).
Among the beneficiaries of the IPPs contracts is African Rainbow Energy and Power (Arep) which is owned by Patrice Motsepe, the brother-in-law of former energy minister, Jeff Radebe and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In the leaked letter, Mkhwebane wrote to Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza alerting him of the probe and requested some documents to be sent to her by August 12 this year.
The complaint was laid by Phapano Phasha of a civic organisation known as the Anti Poverty Forum (APF). Phasha raised concerns about the costs to be incurred by the limping Eskom and said there was maladministration and corruption in the process. Phasha further alleges that Eskom executives were put under pressure by their political principals to sign the agreements in April 2018.
She said as a result of the agreements that she claims doesn’t make sense, the country stands to lose an estimated amount of R1.4 trillion over the next period of 20 years and major beneficiaries of the 27 IPPs are South Africa's leading banks and overseas investors.
Writing to Mabuza after the complaint was lodged, Mkhwebane said she wants to see all the tender documents related to the agreements. She also wants to see all quotations and documents submitted by the bidding companies for the awarded contracts.
“Kindly provide the names, designations and contact details of all the officials of Eskom who were key in the procurement processes leading to the awarding of contracts to the 27 IPPs, as well as the names, designations and contact details of all key officials who represented the IPPs in the contracts concerned,” Mkhwebane wrote to Mabuza.
Mkhwebane also wants all communications regarding the IPPs, submissions and approvals between Eskom and the Departments of Energy and Public Enterprises as well as the National Treasury.
“I look forward to receive a comprehensive response and all the requested information and documentation at your earliest convenience, preferably within fourteen (14) days of receipt hereof, to enable me to expedite the finalisation of the investigation and issue a report,” she pleaded with Mabuza.