Eskom procurements to proceed under veil of secrecy – Natasha Mazzone

DA says Lynne Brown's decision compromises transparency and leaves door wide open to large-scale corruption and political interference

Eskom procurements to proceed under veil of secrecy 

8 September 2016

In response to a parliamentary question, Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown, has indicated that the content flowing from the procurement processes for all Eskom new building programmes will not be made public. 

The Minister indicated that while “high level procurement process information … is available upon request,” “procurement content information however (e.g. Tender submissions, contracts, pricing) … is confidential.” 

The decision by the Minister severely compromises the transparency of the procurement process and leaves the door wide open to large-scale corruption and political interference. 

This does not bode well for the growing perception that South Africa’s state-owned enterprises have been politically captured by the ANC in a bid to plunder their coffers. 

The response by Minister Brown follows shortly after a similar response to a question posed by DA Shadow Minister of Energy, Gordon Mackay MP, wherein she made clear her refusal to release documents pertaining to the nuclear deal on the basis that they are “privileged, sensitive state documents” and “could compromise the new build process.” 

There is a long history of irregularities in the awarding of Eskom tenders, including the alleged involvement of the ANC’s Chancellor House in helping Hitachi to secure Eskom contracts in the construction of Medupi, as well as Eskom’s irrational decision to award a R4 billion tender to Areva over preferred-bidder Westinghouse citing "strategic considerations" – a decision that was later overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeal. 

With the Request for Proposal for the new nuclear build set to go out on 30 September, we must ensure that this process is not similarly captured by Zuma Inc at the expense of the South African economy. We cannot allow it to proceed under a veil of secrecy; procurement process must be open and transparent and allow for maximum public scrutiny to ensure that they are free from corruption. 

Issued by Natasha Mazzone, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, 8 September 2016