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Eskom inquiry needed - chamber

Dec 03 2014 13:01

Cape Town - A judicial commission of inquiry needs to be established to find out what has gone wrong at Eskom and how to fix it, the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Wednesday.

"We need to get to the bottom of the mess because there are important lessons to learn," the chamber's president Janine Myburgh said in a statement.

"An inquiry is the best way to hold accountable those who made bad decisions, or failed to make any. The inquiry should look into political interference in decision-making, and the alleged rejection of technical expertise on the contract for the Koeberg steam generators."

Chamber chair Peter Haylett said the inquiry should investigate:

- The neglect of essential maintenance work;

- Eskom's coal purchases and coal transport;

- Eskom's use of labour brokers;

- Construction and other contracts for new power stations;

- Eskom's rejection of the Mmamabula power station in Botswana, which would have provided cheap power;

- Eskom's refusal to consider offers to provide gas power stations;

- The alleged golden handshakes for Eskom's former executives.

Myburgh also wanted the voluntary retrenchment process to be probed.

"Voluntary retrenchment is the easy way to reduce numbers, but it is also the worst way. It will ensure that some of the best qualified, but most frustrated members of staff take the package and go," she said.

"This will bleed Eskom of skilled hands and minds that it desperately needs."

She said a proper staff reduction scheme would produce the required results as it would get rid of "talkers" and retain the "doers".

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