Public Protector engages stakeholders as part of Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers investigation
The Public Protector South Africa is this week engaging stakeholders as part of an investigation into allegations of improper conduct and maladministration by power utility Eskom and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) regarding the alleged irregular and unlawful awarding of renewable energy contracts to Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
A complaint from non-governmental organisation, Anti-Poverty Forum, lodged on 19 February 2019, triggered the investigation. The complainant alleged that Eskom Executives concluded Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with the IPPs at the expense of Eskom’s sales and savings for the maintenances of its own power plants. The Executives allegedly did so under pressure from their political principals.
According to the complainant, Eskom is forced to pay R93million a day to private power producers. The complainant is of the view that the conclusion of the PPAs was improper and therefore unlawful. Another complaint, from a whistleblower, who wishes to remain anonymous, was received during the course of the investigation.
Following a preliminary investigation, the Public Protector decided to subpoena all the relevant stakeholders to enable them to respond to the allegations and to provide the necessary supporting documents regarding the issues under investigation. Stakeholders in this regard include the Minister of Mineral Resources of Energy, the Director-General of the DMRE, the Director-General of the DPE, the Director-General of the National Treasury and the Chairperson of National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA).
First to give evidence will be the Minister and Director-General of Mineral Resources of Energy on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 13:30. The Director-General of the DPE will follow on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 (09:00), followed by the Director-General of the National Treasury on Thursday, November 25, 2021 (09:00) and the Chairperson of NERSA on Friday, November 26, 2021 (09:00).
Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane will chair the session. She will be assisted by the Deputy Public Protector, Adv. Kholeka Gcaleka, Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Thandi Sibanyoni, Acting Chief Operations Officer, Ms. Lethabo Mamabolo, Executive Manager: Investigations, Ms. Ponatshego Mogaladi and a team of Chief and Senior Investigators. Legal Services officials will lead evidence.
The engagement with the Minister and Director-General of Mineral Resources of Energy will take place as follows:
Date : Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Time : 13:30
Venue : Microsoft Teams Platform: https://protect-za.mimecast.com/s/N0mIC58Mx4iZ0D7XHzoJRL
Details including Microsoft Teams links in respect of the rest of the sessions will be shared daily. Journalists and members of the public are invited to join the proceedings as observers.
Issued by the Public Protector South Africa.