Parliament, Wednesday, 18 September 2019 – The Standing Committee on Appropriations (SCOA) today considered and deliberated on its report relating to the Special Appropriations Bill [B10-2019], as presented by the Minister of Finance, Mr Tito Mboweni, on 23 July 2019.
The committee recognised the importance of Eskom in the economy and in the lives of all South Africans and emphasised the need to support it. However, the committee also stressed that the days of “blank cheques” to state-owned companies (SOCs) are over.
In strengthening its parliamentary oversight responsibilities, the committee wants the Ministers of Public Enterprises and Finance to set stringent conditions, which they must then present to the committee before promulgation, detailing the conditions under which the Special Appropriation is given.
The committee wants to ensure that the rebuilding of Eskom is a collective effort and that black-owned companies, black professionals, women and youth are empowered through business opportunities. The Chairperson of the committee, Mr Sfiso Buthelezi, said: “We were heartened by the undertaking of the Honourable Minister, Mr Pravin Gordhan, to ensure that jobs are protected.”
The call for the revision of Eskom contracts has been a common feature throughout the processing of the Bill. Mr Buthelezi said: “There are companies making big profits at the expense of consumers, and this is something which cannot be allowed.” The committee will ask Eskom for a briefing on these contracts, which must be renegotiated, the committee agreed.
The committee noted with concern Eskom’s unsustainable debt explosion, which saw the entity running at a loss of R20 billion during the last financial year, highlighting the dire need for corrective measures. The impact of the Eskom’s debt on the country’s overall debt burden and the sustainability of the fiscus remain a major concern.
“One of the responsibilities of this government, especially through the funds allocated and appropriated, is to see to the transformation of the economy,” Mr Buthelezi said. In this regard, the committee would like Eskom to present its transformation plan to the committee to ensure that it is in line with government’s goals. The committee also wants to ensure that the funds thus appropriated benefit the poor and marginalised, in both the short and long term.
The committee is to consider the adoption of the report on the Special Appropriations Bill after the constituency period.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, MR SFISO BUTHELEZI.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact:
Name: Felicia Lombard
Parliamentary Communication Services
Tel: 021 403 8285
Cell: 081 548 7011