HILARY JOFFE: Eskom procurement story hints at greater inefficiency ahead

Surely any tender for the Duvha coal should look at the total cost

28 March 2021 - 05:05 By HILARY JOFFE

I'm sure I am missing something. But I have to wonder why the government insists that Eskom go out to tender to give coal miners a chance to truck coal over long distances to Duvha power station instead of doing a cost-effective deal with the coal mine that sits right under the power station and sends it up by conveyer belt. I am deeply puzzled too about why the government chooses expensive, dirty gas-fired powerships to provide two-thirds of the emergency power it went out to procure but declines to make it easy for mining and industrial firms to generate large quantities of clean energy for free to power their own operations and take pressure off SA's electricity grid.

The two procurement stories may tick all the right procedural boxes. But they raise questions about the ever more complex and bureaucratic procurement processes in the public sector and whether they prevent corruption as intended or simply result in dysfunctional outcomes. They raise questions also about whether the government is really serious when it says it wants a more reliable, affordable and cleaner supply of energy for SA - and whether those who claim to want that can stand up against the pressure to dispense patronage. I don't know the answers. But it's worth asking the questions...

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