CAPE TOWN, South Africa, May 24, 2017 – The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises held an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue of the reappointment of Eskom’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Brian Molefe.
Acting Chairperson Ms Zukiswa Rantho said last week the Committee agreed unanimously to call a meeting where the Board and the Minister are to appear before the Committee and explain what is happening at the power utility. Ms Rantho said: “The meeting today wants to know why is Mr Molefe back at Eskom, has Mr Molefe retired, was he retrenched, did he take early retirement or the new one that has been reported was that he was on unpaid leave, these are some of the answers that we need today.”
The Committee was of the view that legal advice that has been received will not be used to shield Eskom from being accountable before the Committee. The comments from the Committee came after Eskom’s Board Chairperson, Dr Ben Ngubane, said he had received legal advice from his counsel after he had filed an affidavit on Monday, 22 May 2017. Dr Ngubane said he was advised that the matter cannot be debated other than in a court of law. “I have to listen to counsel as they are representing us in a court of law,” said Dr Ngubane.
Members indicated that the Committee had also received legal advice regarding today’s meeting and the Committee had been advised that it should not get into the merits and demerits of the case. Members of the Committee stated that Eskom and the Executive are accountable to Parliament.
According to the legal advice from Parliament’s Legal Office, it states that “there is a constitutional duty to perform oversight and the intention of calling the Minister and Board is not to influence the court. Whilst the matter is sub judice (meaning it is before the court), this does not mean that Parliament cannot perform its oversight function, as long as the deliberations are not on “the merits of the case”.
In response to the presentation by Eskom and the Minister of Public Enterprises, the Committee questioned what pressurised such a strategic institution to hire someone where a question mark has not been cleared based on the Public Protector’s State of Capture Report. The Committee indicated that Eskom needs to state the basis of employment of Mr Molefe as the issue is still in the public domain.
The Committee said Mr Molefe, in his resignation letter, said he was stepping down from the power utility based on good governance following the release of the State of Capture report by the former Public Protector.
The Committee wanted to know if the papers filed in court by the Minister that Mr Molefe was on unpaid leave whilst being a Member of Parliament are true. Furthermore, the Committee queried why the post of the chief executive would be advertised and interviews conducted if Mr Molefe was on unpaid leave. The Committee said it will not accept the explanation provided before the Committee that he (Mr Molefe) was on unpaid leave as Section 47 of the Constitution would not allow this.
A response from a Board member indicated that Mr Molefe had resigned last year. Regarding the reappointment of Mr Molefe as CEO, the Board supported his reappointment based on the legal advice that the power utility received and on Mr Molefe’s performance whilst in the employ of Eskom.
The Committee made a recommendation that the Eskom Board and the Minister should be subjected to an inquiry to check if they (the Board) exercised its fiduciary responsibilities and duties. A parliamentary inquiry needs to be instituted against the Board and forensic investigation needs to be conducted to reach a determination of what must happen. The Committee agreed that further engagements need to be conducted amongst the members to discuss a way forward on the possible inquiry.
Following its deliberation, the Committee supported the decision for a parliamentary inquiry in line with National Assembly rules to look into the Board of Eskom.
On Eskom’s legal argument that Mr Molefe was appointed under the terms of the 2014 Memorandum of Incorporation (MoI), the Minister stated that the early retirement agreement didn’t have to be shown to her. The 2014 MoI does not enlist the Minister as party to the contract of employment of a Group CEO, whist the 2016 MoI explicitly enlists the Minister as a party to the contract of employment of Group CEO.
The Committee is of the view that the Minister failed to exercise her oversight duties as the 2016 MoI gave the Minister powers to appoint and dismiss the Group CEO of Eskom.
Ms Rantho said: “The Committee is concerned with the state of governance at Eskom. There seems to a breakdown in communication between the shareholder and the state-owned company.”
“The Committee is concerned with the breakdown of corporate governance principles at Eskom. In this regard, the Committee views the reappointment of Mr Molefe with serious concern,” said Ms Rantho.
She added that “we will further seek advice on how to deal with the decision of the reappointment of the Chief Executive”.
In its deliberation the Committee requested the power utility to provide the Committee with documents such as minutes correspondence and decisions taken on the reappointment of Mr Molefe.
A long-time delayed report have been released this week, as the South African ruling party African National Congress (ANC) and their ministers has tried to subdue the private analysis of the government energy company ESKOM. However, this report will assess needed information that should have been delivered before the other leaks of questionable transactions and contracts that Eskom has done in the recent years under President Jacob Zuma. President Zuma has used his presidency to earn monies for his family members and even some of his family work in corporations that have gotten state contracts through Eskom. Therefore this report is telling of how the sufficient business-model and energy production has been handled by Eskom. This will be about the years before 2015 and to that date. What Eskom has done since has either been revealed through the contracts or through the scrutiny of Public Protector or Finance Minister who has questioned the company themselves. Just take a look at what I find as key things from this report!
“Prior to 1997, Eskom plant operated at relatively low energy utilisation factors (EUF). However, from the onset of Eskom 90:7:3 operational strategy in the mid-90s, the Eskom plant operated at higher EUFs. After 2012, the plant operational at very high EUFs with the median being in excess of 90%” (Dentons, P: 19, 2015).
About the lacking investment in older plants:
“The Generation Sustainability Strategy document cited information that Eskom has reduced planned maintenance (reflected in the Planned Capability Loss Factor (PCLF)) in order to maintain “Keeping Lights On (KLO)” strategy. It could be noted that the historical 90:7:3 strategy applied by Eskom should also be factored in the assessment of the fleet performance as international practice typically targets values in the order of 85:10:5” (…) “The historically low PCLF coupled with the KLO strategy and factors such as coal quality and high utilisation factors have led to a sharp increase in Unplanned Capabilities Loss Factors (UCLF)” (Dentons, P: 19, 2015). “The Generation Sustainability Strategy document indicates that the Eskom generation fleet has experienced 15 years of under-investment in capital expenditure (capex) which is largely the result of cost cutting due to financial and capacity constraints” (Dentons, P: 20, 2015). “The analysis of this information indicates that there was significant under-investment refurbishment capex versus best practice for an extended period of time (from the mid 1990s). The under-investment at plant mid-life age is also critical and significantly contributes to the current poor plant performance” (Dentons, P: 22, 2015).
2010 Football World Cup:
“To uphold the KLO Strategy, short term decisions were made by Eskom that negatively impacted on the long-term sustainability of the generation plant. Historically, this would include the impacts of maximising plant availability during the critical period in 2010 prior to and including the FIFA 2010 World Cup. The knock-on effects of deferring maintenance may not be immediately materialised and often manifest themselves later in the generation planning/production cycle. As an example, the available documentation indicates that in January 2013, five previous maintenance outages were not executed as scheduled as sufficient generation capacity was not available on the grid. The lack of generation reserves has also resulted in units operating outside limits of good practice. As an example, in June 2014, 46 out of the 79 coal units were operating outside of good practice” (Dentons, P:27, 2015).
“Load Shedding is the reduction of demand to achieve a balance between available generation and demand. If demand significantly exceeds available generation and reduction in demand is not achieved, the system will frequently drop, which may ultimately result in a system black-out” (…) “The problem Eskom faces is a steady decline in the performance and availability of its coal fleet. The further leads to a lack of ‘space’ to execute the maintenance required to restore the condition of the coal-fired power stations so as to achieve acceptable operating performance. This has been compounded by the delays in bringing on new capacity such as Mepudi, Kusile and Ingula” (Dentos, P: 30, 2015).
Skills to execute new build projects:
“When the decision to proceed with the new build projects was made, Eskom had limited skills to conduct such a project. Eskom has not developed coal power plants for decades. Experienced power plant staff (mostly operational staff) were moved to new build programme which left substantial skills gaps at the operating power stations” (Dentons, P: 38, 2015).
“One of the measures taken by Eskom to bolster knowledge and experience was to recruit experienced resources internationally to increase the skills base. Eskom recently announced revised timelines for the Medupi and Kusile indicating that these projects will be further delayed and are now only planned completion by 2020 for Medupi and 2022 for Kusile. These appear to be more realistic time frames given the current status, but there remains general scepticism as to whether Eskom will be able to achieve this given its past track record on contract management for these projects” (Dentons, P: 42, 2015).
Debt made by Eskom:
“New debt of R49.5bn was taken on in the year to fund the continued capex programme. However, Eskom was downgraded to sub-investment grade status by both Moody’s and S&P and thus the funding was provided at much higher finance cost. Liquidity concerns were heightened as the net cash flow from operating activities of R23.3bn was not sufficient to cover the total of debt due for repayment of R17.1bn as well as the net financing interest payable of R15.3bn resulting in a shortfall of R11bn. In essence borrowings were starting to be used for ongoing operations” (Dentons, P: 89, 2015). “Eskom Treasury recently highlighted the key risks that Eskom faces to execute the borrowing programme, and in turn therefore complete the new builds: realisation of BPP cost savings; cost overturns on Medpudi and Kusile; RCA cost recovery in MYPD3 future years; Declining future ratios; threat of future ratios; threat of further credit rating downgrades; inadequate liquidity buffer; Lack of market appetite for Eskom debt; and inability to execute borrowing programme. In FY2015, all of these risk materialised” (Dentons, P: 94, 2015). “Recent history does not place these risks in a good light. Eskom is currently sacrificing its future to survive. If sales and arrears continue to plague Eskom, there is a shortfall in lending, a failure to meet meaningful cost savings, and a continued EAF below 80% prevail (in other words a continuation of the trend of the past 2 years), Eskom’s bail-out funds will evaporate” (Dentons, P: 95, 2015).
That this report is damaging to the reputation of Eskom. This shows the malpractice and lacking of guidance that the company has had. The monopoly and grand control over the market as the state corporation has given it kickbacks and security of funds, even as they haven’t done things properly or planned. Therefore the enlightenment and the clear indication of lose planning and less of experts on the field of building new power-plants is proof of the misguided and maladministration that’s been inside the Eskom company.
The African National Congress that has been the ruling regime and the ruling party, that has been in-charge of the resources and the selection of hiring and changing leaders of the company. Can be put to blame for lenient and lacking acts of putting in place enough expertise and enough clear procedures on how the changing leadership should go about. So the Eskom could be sure of having men and woman who we’re qualified and had experience to handle an organization and business like this.
The report highlights major facts and breaches in also ordinary buying procedures and lacking of that and other issues that I couldn’t fit. There are many lose ends that Eskom has and needs to address, that ANC has to take responsibility for and also answer for. Because the Company has dwindled and lost its edge during the reign of ANC and President Zuma, who rather spoils the company instead of investing in it! Peace.
Dentons – ‘Report on Eskom’ (02.07.2015)
This blog here will be focused on the ‘Office of the Auditor General’ who released ‘Annual report of the Auditor General for the Financial Year ended 30th June 2014 – Volume 5 Value for Money Audit’. What you will read is actual quotes from the paper or report. Here you get a vivid picture of how the financial year (FY 2013-2014) was in reality.
I haven’t taken everything from the piece. It would be too long and you might end up bored. Here is what should get your mind boggling and wonder. How could this be this way? Why is it like this? How did it end up like this? What does this tell me about the economic practices in Uganda? And so on. If you start to think like that, then it was worth using my time. Enjoy the quotes from the report. Hope you catch some wisdom.
When it comes to managing Public Debt:
“Public debt is incurred primarily for financing budget deficits, development of domestic financial markets, supporting the country’s Balance of Payment (BOP) position/foreign reserves and monetary policy objectives. In Uganda, public debt is managed by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) in liaison with Bank of Uganda (BoU). Government borrows internally from domestic markets through issuance of Treasury bills and Bonds by the BoU and externally through Bilateral and multilateral borrowings. Currently, over 60% of the public debt is external debt and 40% is domestic debt. GoU borrowing has been rising over the years from USD 5.7 billion in Financial Year (FY) 2011/12 to USD 7 billion in FY 2013/14. The growing National debt, if not properly managed, could revert to unsustainable levels as was the case in the past”.
“Interest rates on domestic debt have overall stabilised in recent years relative to their peak in 2011/12. However, they remain a cause for concern due to their high contribution to overall debt service costs and the relatively high yields which they attract stand in stark contrast to those achieved by comparator nations with similar credit ratings”.
When it comes to roads:
“The Uganda Road Fund invested a total of UGX 914 billion in road maintenance activities during the three years under review (2011/2012, 2012/2013 and 2013/2014),4 with a total of 4,565km of roads maintained. Despite the increasing investment, there are reports and persistent public outcry about the poor state of roads and the deteriorating quality of works being executed. The physical and financial performance reports of designated agencies in FY 2011/12 revealed the following issues: budget indiscipline, poor absorption of road maintenance funds, inaccuracies in reporting, lethargy of Designated Agencies (DAs) in complying with reporting requirements, widely varying unit costs, risk of loss of funds through end of year procedures, and grave underperformance of periodic maintenance works” (…) ”The road maintenance needs in Uganda cannot be met due to limited resources, for example for FY 2011/2012, the total maintenance needs from the agencies was UGX 413.95bn, and the budget provided by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) was UGX 280.95bn, indicating a 32% deficit” (…) “The road maintenance equipment inventory maintained by the URF is incomplete; the inventory is only for 12 (55%) of the municipalities and it is outdated as it was submitted in January 2011”.
When it comes to Gas and Oil:
“Through a review of reports on procurement submitted by the oil companies to PEPD, it was noted that from 2010-2013, the oil companies spent a total of USD 1,171.8 million on purchase of goods and services. Of this, USD 329.9 million was paid to Ugandan service providers, representing 28% of the total spend for all the companies in the period under review” (…) “The Ugandan service providers comprised about 73% of the approved suppliers which implies that the total value of the procurements from them was less than their relative number” (…) “Ugandans employed in the oil and gas sector by the oil companies overall rose from 69% in 2012 to 80% in 2014, absolute numbers of employees decreased from 546 to 432 between 2013 and 2014; in particular, the nationals dropped from 370 to 347 over the same period” (…) “For all the 27 jobs advertised in the newspapers, attracting over 700 local applicants, none was appointed, citing lack of experience in the oil and gas sector. Instead, the recruitment report submitted by the CNOOC to PEPD recommended recruitment of expatriates” (…) “According to the Industrial baseline survey done by the Joint Venture partners (CNOOC, TEP and TUOP), 60% of the workforce required for the next phases will be technicians and craftsmen, which translates to a demand of 7,800 and 1,800 technicians and craftsmen at the peak and plateau phases, respectively, of development and production. With the current total of only 86 UPIK graduates, there is doubt that the projected demand will be met by the time production starts (2018)” (…) “There are still several areas with clear potential for enhancing national content, such as: establishment of a clear regulatory framework, performance targets and indicators for national content; determining the level of state participation; local supplier development; employment and training of Nationals by the oil companies and government; ensuring gender parity and involving host communities”.
When it comes to the Healthcare:
“The Uganda Health Systems Strengthening Project (UHSSP) is a project administered under the Ministry of Health (MoH)” (…) “UHSSP, is a five year project, which was established in 2010, commenced operations in February 2011 and is due to end on 31st July 2015. The UHSSP project is jointly funded by the Government of Uganda (GoU) and the World Bank to a tune of USD 14.31 million and USD 130 million, respectively” (…) “UHSSP was set up to bridge the existing gap of supply and maintenance of medical equipment in 46 selected health facilities in order to improve the quality of health care delivered to patients. The project has spent USD 24 million (UGX 60.480 billion) on procurement and supply of these medical equipment, yet some of the equipment remains unused in the facilities where it was supplied” (…) “For instance, at the time of audit field visit in September 2014, the project had supplied anesthetics machines to 165 HCIVs at a cost of USD 2,063,085.75, however, all the HCIVs visited were not utilising this equipment because they lacked the technical expertise to effectively utilise the equipment. In a related instance, 2 auto strainers valued at USD 25,345.68, which were issued to Mubende and Moroto Regional Referral Hospitals, are not operational because of lack of qualified staff” (…) “observations conducted during field visits to the seventeen selected beneficiary health facilities, it was noted that some of the equipment supplied, worth Euros 3,954.67 and USD 1,209,879.09, was not being used at all while other equipment was not optimally utilized” (…) “Through field inspections, it was observed that health facilities namely Mwizi had no power supply while others such as: Moyo, Aduku, Aboke Pakwach had unreliable solar power supply, and therefore, were not providing emergency obstetric care services when needed” (…) “that various equipment supplied by the project, worth USD 319,676.35 and Euros 347.24, required additional logistical supplies to be effectively put to use. Such equipment included anesthesia units which required regulators, oxygen cylinders and other reagents while incubator cultures, incubator baby, defribrators, counting chamber, colorimeter required Medias, distilled water, thermometers, tubes and batteries”.
When it comes to handling Public Debt Part 2:
“Uganda benefited from the various Debt relief initiatives like the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative in 1998, the Enhanced HIPC in 2000 and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) in 2006. Despite these initiatives, GoU borrowing has been rising over the years from USD 5.7 billion in Financial Year (FY) 2011/12 to USD 7 billion in FY 2013/14. The growing National debt, if not properly managed, could revert to unsustainable levels as was the case in the past” (…) “In the FY 2013/14 Public debt increased to USD 7 billion up from USD 6.4 billion in F/Y 2012/13, reflecting a 9.38% increment in one year alone, the increment was way above the GDP growth of 6.2% in the FY 2013/14. Domestic debt accounted for 9.55% (UGX 1,437 billion) of the National budget, 2014/15 an increase of 1.65% (UGX 397 billion) from 7.9% (UGX 1,040 billion) in financialyear 2013/14. External financing on the other hand increased from UGX 2,660 billion in F/Y 2013/14 to UGX 2,733 billion of the National budget, 2014/15 an increase of UGX 73 billion. As non-concessional borrowing increases, the need for proper debt management becomes even much greater” (…) “On average, 60% of public debt is external loans of which Multilateral loans constitute over 80%. The domestic debt is largely derived from the sale of bonds which constituted an average of about 60% over the period FY2011/12 – 2013/14 “ (…) “In evaluating whether the debt, acquisition process facilitates debt sustainability, the audit mainly focussed on the acquisition of external debt since it constitutes over 60% of the National debt portfolio” (…) “The 2012 corruption scandal involving the Prime Minister’s office resulted in a changed relationship between multilateral lenders to the Ugandan government and a consequent reduction in the amount of aid in the form of direct budget support. Budget support in 2011/12 amounted to 168m USD, but reduced to 24.1m USD in 2013/14. The shortfall has in part been filled through domestic financing” (…) “The lack of coordination between debt and cash management functions contributed to inaccurate forecasting of cash needs. This exacerbated the problem of unplanned cuts to government programmes and led to the needless issuance of short-term debt, with the associated debt service costs” (…) “it was noted that local government authorities still held significant cash balances accrued from non-tax revenues and unutilised balances which were not remitted to the Consolidated Fund regularly, and that some accounts containing cash lay dormant, risking embezzlement” (…) “the current economic conditions characterised by reduced exports and a depreciating Ugandan Shilling against the dollar (30% for the last 4 months) there is a risk of stress which can affect future sustainability. Interest rates on domestic debt remain a cause for concern due to their high contribution to overall debt service costs (78%)”
When it comes to Health Care Part 2:
“Over the past three financial years 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14, there has been an 18% increment in the funding of RRHs from UGX 53.86 billion to UGX 63.56 billion” (…) “Jinja nd Lira RRHs revealed that Jinja RRH which ran a 13-bed Intensive Care unit only used 6 of the beds, leaving 7 beds idle in the unit while Lira RRH had not utilized its 16-bed ICU since FY 2012/13. The Hospital Directors of Jinja and Lira RRHs explained that more nurses wouldhave to be deployed as each bed required at least 2 full time nurses to the unit to ensure full utilisation of the unit without compromising the quality of care. The unit would also require full time doctors and an anaesthesiologist. In Lira RRH, management explained that the ICU had not been commissioned and that its underutilisation was also due to the absence of an oxygen plant” (…) “With the current ICU bed capacity in Uganda of 61 in all public and private hospitals, 23 unutilized ICU beds in Jinja and Lira represents a wasted resource. It is estimated that about 10 critically ill patients were deprived of ICU admission daily and as a result succumbed to their illnesses” (…) “Hospital managers in response attributed this to the lack of bio medical engineers and high costs of repairing the equipment, for instance, according to Jinja RRH, the maintenance of the En-Visor ultra sound machine and the repairs of the Duo-Diagnostic big x-ray machine requires not less than UGX 15 million, and without a medical equipment maintenance fund, it is a challenge to maintain and repair the radiology and imaging machines. Management of Fort Portal RRH attributed the low usage of the x-ray and ultrasound machines to stock-outs of the supplies, such as reagents and films required for the operation of this diagnostic equipment” (…) “The average doctor-patient ratio per year in RRHs was 12440:1 implying one doctor for 34 patients per day while clinician- patient ratio was 10652:1 annually implying one clinician for 29 patients” (…) “For example; Kabale, Fort Portal, Masaka and Mbale Regional Hospitals referred some special cases to Mbarara RRH for services like CT scan, renal dialysis, neurosurgeon, paediatric surgery. In addition, lack of adequate staff has led to referrals to the National Referral Hospital and this has further resulted in the congestion and handling of cases at National Referral Hospital which cases could be handled by the RRHs. The process of referrals is costly and in some cases patients lose their lives in the process of reaching the health facility to which they have been referred”.
When it comes to Management of Sewage in Urban areas:
“Poor sanitation costs Uganda 389 billion shillings annually, equivalent to 1.1% of the national GDP” (…) “Fifty six percent (56%) of the pipes in Kampala were built in the 1940s and 86% of these have been operational for 35 years or more” (…) “National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC)” (…) “NWSC had spent UGX 10.9billion towards sewage management activities in the areas under its jurisdiction over the last three years” (…) “the volume of sewage generated in the different towns and the volume of sewage collected and treated by NWSC, a study conducted by Mott Macdonald on behalf of NWSC in December 2012 estimated that by 2014, a total of 238.9 ML of wastewater would be generated of which, only 8.38ML would be collected and treated. This leaves approximately 230.52 ML of generated sewage uncollected and therefore not treated”.
I hope this was worth your time and also giving you an indication on the matters on the ground. This is just a fragment on the matters and what got told in the report. This just comes as gift to you. Especially to all of you who don’t use time reading the report on your free will or are lucky enough to get the report in your mailbox. Never the less, hope you got enlighten and also got a picture on how the monies is spent in last FY. Peace.