Broke Eskom to splash on bonuses for Molefe, Koko

Disgraced Molefe first in line for fat payout even as utility fields woeful balance sheet

16 July 2017 - 00:05 By SABELO SKITI and SIKONATHI MANTSHANTSHA

Scandal-plagued Eskom has only enough cash to last it for the next three months - but it still wants bonuses to be paid to axed CEO Brian Molefe, suspended acting chief executive Matshela Koko and others.
According to its annual financial statements, the power utility is sitting on its last R20-billion. This means that, unless something is done urgently, the parastatal could find itself unable to pay November salaries.
The financial statements, which the Sunday Times has seen, were presented to Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown late last month. Her office yesterday refused to comment, saying it was premature.
The power utility postponed the announcement of its results the night before they were scheduled to be made public, leaving industry analysts speculating about the reasons for the delay.
A crash by the utility could have dire consequences for South Africa's ailing economy as the country depends entirely on Eskom for electricity, without which there can be no economic activity.Despite its precarious financial position, the state-owned company has asked Brown to approve short-term bonuses totalling R5.5-million for three of its most controversial former and current executives. This is part of a R13-million payment proposed for Eskom's top executives.
Under a cloud
It proposes that Molefe - who left the utility under a cloud after being singled out in the public protector's report on state capture for unduly favouring the Gupta family - be paid a R2.1-million bonus for the eight months he served as CEO in the 2016-17 financial year.
Earlier this year, Eskom attempted to secure a R30-million pension payout for Molefe - who was CEO for only 18 months.
That move was blocked by the government following a huge public outcry.
Koko - who is suspended and is scheduled to face a disciplinary procedure this week for alleged conflict of interest for failing to disclose his stepdaughter's shareholding in a supplier, Impulse International - stands to gain a R1.5-million bonus.
Chief financial officer Anoj Singh, who has links to the Guptas, is scheduled to receive a R1.9-million windfall.
The proposed bonuses stand in sharp contrast to Eskom's fortunes as the company profits shrank from R5.3-billion at the end of the 2016 financial year to R900-million in June this year.
Added to its woes are the facts that:

The interest the utility has to pay on its debt has increased from R31-billion to R38-billion;
Financial chief Singh is facing multiple allegations of corruption;
Molefe has taken the parastatal to court, fighting to be reinstated to the job he vacated in December, only to return briefly in May before being chucked out by the minister; and
Electricity sales are dwindling in volume in a depressed economy...

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