Eskom defends R1.2m plant opening

2010-12-07 14:58

Johannesburg - The R1.2m spent by Eskom on a ceremony to mark the reopening of its Camden power station in Mpumalanga earlier this year was not merely spent on the lunch, the power utility said on Tuesday.

"It wasn't just lunch - it was the whole event," spokesperson Hilary Joffe told Sapa, responding to questions about the event.

Camden is one of three power stations that Eskom is returning to service to meet South Africa's demand for electricity. It was mothballed in 1988.

The amount spent at the plant's October 23 reopening, attended by President Jacob Zuma, was disclosed in a written reply by Public Enterprise Minister Malusi Gigaba to a parliamentary question posed by the Democratic Alliance.

"The nature of the event... (was) a luncheon, which included presentations and (a) plant tour of Camden," he said in the reply, adding it had cost R1.2m and involved 300 guests.

In a statement earlier on Tuesday, the DA said it would raise questions in parliament about the reopening event, which it labelled an "obscene splash" and a "frivolous and self-indulgent" waste of public resources.

"The DA is stunned that Eskom spent R1.2m on a single lunch party for delegates at the reopening of the coal-fired Camden power station in Mpumalanga during October of this year," DA MP Lindiwe Mazibuko said.

The DA will call on Eskom CEO Brian Dames to explain the spending to parliament's public enterprises portfolio committee.

"This wasteful expenditure is doubly worrying because Eskom continually requires publicly financed bailouts for its operations.

"Between 2005 and 2009, Eskom was the recipient of R188.67bn in state financial assistance, and this year new bailouts have been announced - including guarantees totalling R176bn that were confirmed in March by former minister Barbara Hogan, and another R20bn that the presidency recently claimed would be allocated in next year's budget.

"The DA would like to know whether any of Eskom's R20bn bailout money is intended for its catering department. If so, does the ANC government really think this is how it should be spending precious state resources?" Mazibuko said.

Joffe said Eskom would release a fuller breakdown of the reopening costs later on Tuesday.

Joffe said the actual cost of catering at the event was "less than R300 000".

Lunch had been served to 300 invited guests plus 350 power station employees, as well as various "security people, crew and other workers".

She said the balance of the R1.2m (R900 000) had been spent on "marquees, air conditioning and audio-visual and sound systems, as well as the logistics that go into this type of event".

Eskom was mindful of the need to curb expenses, but did "not feel we spent an excessive amount" on the reopening, Joffe said.

  • FrankLee - 2010-12-07 15:58

    Strange that no one has commented on this one yet. I suppose we're inured to the theft of the ANC thugs and just merrily go along with their self-enrichment. I still maintain that 5 years from now only 1 operating power station will be built and 4 others will have to be scrapped. May it be that I eat my words.

  • Richard - 2010-12-07 16:01

    The real GRAVE TRAIN

  • Juliaas - 2010-12-07 16:01

    They can't provide power, they can't balance their books they must beg and borrow for finances but boy can they party. GRAVY TRAIN TRAVELERS.

  • bruce - 2010-12-07 16:03

    We should be grateful that the amount was only R1.2 million. If president Jacob Zuma had decided to bring all his wifes and children we would of been looking at double the figure.

  • Que - 2010-12-07 16:10

    Nice!! 1.2m for lunch. What did they serve caviar? And this for an enterprise that said they cannot supply elctricity if they don't get a 100% increase in tarrif. They should have rather said they cannot supply lunch if they don't get that increase. Now tell me, why should I save elctricity?

  • bheki - 2010-12-07 16:11

    It is quiet annoying to learn of this expenditure which is uncalled for and unjustified considering that my electricity tariffs have doubled from last year. I hope whatever they were cerebrating was that the return to service cost were within the budget-not adjusted budget and further was on schedule.

  • bonzo - 2010-12-07 16:11

    What a disgrace!

  • Harhar ha bwa ha ha - 2010-12-07 16:12

    Well - these guys clearly need assistance - the number for Weskoppies follow . . . . .

  • Taxpayer - 2010-12-07 16:15

    She said the balance of the R1.2m (R900 000) had been spent on "marquees, air conditioning and audio-visual and sound systems, as well as the logistics that go into this type of event". It doesnt add up madam, some BEE contractor is getting away here again... Anyone could have done this for a fraction of the cost. Wastefull !

  • eh - 2010-12-07 16:15

    Its only R4000 per delegate and anyway there is lots more money where that came from. The mindset is just staggering. And the government wants to interfere in more and more free enterprise. They have no clue how difficult it is to generate a profit as a business because those who do generate profits have to give a substantial proportion to these scumbags. How they can even defend their excesses shows how mindless they are.....

  • Nigel Norton - 2010-12-07 16:15

    When will all these ANC deployees realise that it is our money that they are spending.What would have been wrong with giving everyone a wors roll and a cup of tea or a single can of beer.Told them all including old hot pants to bring a hat and umbrella in case of sun or rain or both.The cost would then have shrunk and many bloody useless oxygen thieves could have stayed at Luthuli House and worked out how to spend a day working to make SA better not themselves richer.

  • mfana4 - 2010-12-07 16:17

    Well done DA for following up on these things, what is the monitoring department in the office of the precidency doing? they should be doing this digging! Come next elections i'm voting DA,no more wasting my vote on this corrupt ANC.

  • Mark - 2010-12-07 16:18

    Why dont we wake up Camden was working but new politics mothballed it now we will end up paying for the restart. Why dont gov officials use the money they so like to spend on crime like farm killings or are they behind it or hideding something.

  • Nigel Norton - 2010-12-07 16:22

    Where is the gravy trains next stop .I want to get on Why should the ANC cadres be the only ones to waste the public's money

  • Karen - 2010-12-07 16:23

    Whew!! I feel MUCH better knowing the R1.2 million was spent on the whole event and not just lunch. Now it's just fine. Really.

  • dawie - 2010-12-07 16:26

    do you parastatals not get it? stop wasting taxpayers and subscribers funds!

  • Birdman - 2010-12-07 16:35

    This is rediculous. We are organising an event for 1000 people with a 1500sq M tent, catering for 2 dinners, giveaways, entertainment etc and this is costing R700 000! R1,2M for 300 people = R4000/person!! It's not even fishy it's straight forward corruption!

  • SydneyG - 2010-12-07 16:42

    Was there a need to celebrate the openning in the first place? As in all parastatals, party comes before real work of delivery begins..this obssession to celebrate just about everything must END RIGHT NOW..all the governments in the west are scaling down on spending, here in SA we are wasteful, just look at how big Zuma's cabinet is..but runs scared on delivery!

  • Mabele - 2010-12-07 16:58

    More loans in 2011/2012 financial year. Thanks God the ANC/Malema Govt still doesn't have control of the Mining Entreprises.

  • RR - 2010-12-07 17:39

    Brainless expenditure!!! There are millions of South Africans who are starving or homeless. These idiots are spending our money recklessly!!

  • j - 2010-12-07 18:01

    Dont ANC supporters feel ashamed? They will keep on voting for the fat fart cats, no matter how bad, how long and how deep these fat cats are screwing their voters.

  • Whatever - 2010-12-07 18:50

    They can do what they want and the sooner we accept it the better.

  • Aqua - 2010-12-07 19:36

    Im currently an Eskom trainee & my contract is expiring,they just told me im dont fit in their budget & i should mslf employment somewhere.Guess im not the only one released, about 18 of us.

  • Nick - 2010-12-07 19:54

    Why can't they just get the damn thing running, what is the need for a launch party? All people want is a reliable electricity supply at an affordable rate.

  • JS - 2010-12-07 20:06

    What a shocking waste of money. MY tax money!! And the keep increasing prices! Corrupt, wasteful, bling bastards!

  • aubszee - 2010-12-07 20:38 fine! The price of bananas have gone up somewhat you know!

  • Sue - 2010-12-07 23:26

    A friend of mine is working for Eskom. There is a position opening in Pretoria. He wanted to apply, but his manager told him straight that their new boss, (some Indian guy)forewarned them that NO WHITE person will be invited for an interview, much less appointed. Eskom has long since passed their BEE targets by huge percentages. This is straight forward racism, yet the whites are the ones that carries that freakin place financially. (By paying our bills) Winnie Mandela alone owes a couple of hundred thousand rand on her outstanding Electricity bill. SO WHAT? they ask, she is the mother of the nation... The whites are screwed.

  • BeeVee - 2010-12-08 00:38

    I'm a manager at Eskom and am disgusted with this expenditure. Please do not think all Eskom workers are in this category - many of us are working really hard at providing and distributing electricity as cost effectively as possible.

  • Velan Marimuthu - 2010-12-08 01:08

    So, if Camden is one of three restoration projects currently underway, this means that there's another two more lunch parties to government officials actually ever buy their own food?

  • Sue - 2010-12-08 09:19

    Rediculous. Why do they have to have a "party" to reopen the power station, is it necessary? I don't think it's fair that taxpayers have to contribute to the massive increase and they money gets spent on these kind of unnecessary events. So how many more power stations are they going to re-open and have parties for? As for loadshedding, it's still happening and they lie to us saying the sub station blew up....every Friday at 09h30 to 12h30? Irritated...

  • Zee - 2010-12-08 09:26

    Eish. Lets throw a party for 4000 per head. Did they all stay at a 5* hotel as well. Disgusting I tell you. the ppl are getting poorer and the gov is getting richer everyday. Time for a change in Parliament. Hope ppl stop having faith in these theives. Wish eskom could somehow get some good competition

  • YasButIDunno - 2010-12-08 10:41

    Don't worry fellow taxpayers, Homer Zuma has just tossed R1,1b of your money to Cuba in the form of debt relief. Lets see, that's about equivalent to 40 000 RDP houses. What a creative way of keeping electricity demand in check and taking our minds off the singin' dancin' and partyin' Eishkom cadres!!! The man's a genius!

  • len - 2010-12-08 15:05

    Why did it take so long to put these stations back into service. Guess any excuse for R1.2 million to dissappear without any questions being asked.

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