NewsSouthern AfricaSouth African minister tells Eskom to release coal contracts report to Treasury

Tue,21Nov2017

Posted on Tuesday, 30 August 2016 10:48

South African minister tells Eskom to release coal contracts report to Treasury

By James Macharia

Photo©Siphiwe Sibeko/ReutersSouth African Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said on Tuesday she had asked state-owned power utility Eskom to immediately provide a report required by the Treasury, which is investigating the utility's coal contracts.

Brown said she was concerned a public row between the Treasury and Eskom could lead to the utility being downgraded by credit rating agencies.

I don't want to see credit rating agencies downgrade Eskom because of a spat in the media

The Treasury on Monday accused Eskom executives of blocking the probe of coal contracts between the utility and a company linked to the wealthy Gupta family that is accused of holding undue political sway over President Jacob Zuma.

The Sunday Times reported the Treasury's investigation had revealed Eskom paid more than 130 million rand ($9 million) to Tegeta Exploration & Resources Ltd., a mining company owned by the Gupta family, for coal the power utility could not use.

Eskom said it was cooperating with investigations and had not been involved in any wrongdoing. The utility had asked for more time to prepare its response to the Treasury.

"Treasury and myself should meet to resolve this matter," Brown said in an interview on Talk Radio 702, adding she was waiting for the outcome of the investigation to find out about any payments by Eskom to Tegeta.

"I don't want to see credit rating agencies downgrade Eskom because of a spat in the media," she said.

The row further scarred relations in a government rocked by a police investigation of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan over a suspected surveillance unit set up when he ran the tax service.

The turmoil has weakened South African assets. Analysts say Zuma's team and the Treasury under Gordhan have disagreed about government spending at state companies and the tussle between Treasury and Eskom signalled a prolonged dispute.



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