Eskom probes ‘ten­der rig’ leak

CityPress - - Business - LESETJA MALOPE lesetja.malope@city­press.co.za

Fol­low­ing last week’s ar­ti­cle in City Press about clean­ing ten­ders at Eskom al­legedly be­ing rigged, Monde Bala, the head of Eskom in KwaZulu-Na­tal, has launched a probe into who leaked the in­for­ma­tion.

Bala this week wrote an in­ter­nal memo, which City Press has seen, warn­ing em­ploy­ees against leaks.

Ac­cord­ing to two in­de­pen­dent sources close to Eskom, Bala had a team of in­ves­ti­ga­tors flown down from Eskom’s head­quar­ters in Johannesburg to KwaZulu-Na­tal to find the source of the al­leged leak.

In the memo, Bala tried to ex­plain away the scan­dal. “The con­tract in ques­tion was ad­justed in line with Eskom’s pro­cure­ment and sup­ply chain man­age­ment pol­icy,” he wrote in the memo.

“The ad­just­ments were made to en­sure com­pli­ance with statu­tory obli­ga­tions. The ten­der com­mit­tee made a de­ci­sion to mod­ify the con­tract af­ter tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion all avail­able and rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion.

“It did not over­look any in­for­ma­tion that was sub­mit­ted, as was er­ro­neously re­ported in the me­dia.

“In­ves­ti­ga­tions are cur­rently un­der way to ver­ify that the process lead­ing up to the mod­i­fi­ca­tion of the con­tract was in no way com­pro­mised. Se­condly, and equally im­por­tant, to de­ter­mine where the leak­age of the con­fi­den­tial doc­u­ments came from so that ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion is taken.”

The ar­ti­cle al­leged that a ten­der com­mit­tee, headed by Bala, went against pro­fes­sional ad­vice and hiked the price of the ten­ders by R13.2 mil­lion to R77.4 mil­lion.

Eskom spokesper­son Khulu Phasiwe said that no ob­jec­tions had been raised about the award­ing of the con­tract to Mfesi Clean­ing Ser­vices.

Eskom’s probe was “merely to ascertain that no pro­cure­ment pro­ce­dures were vi­o­lated dur­ing the ten­der­mod­i­fi­ca­tion process”.

“The mod­i­fi­ca­tion was ap­proved by the pro­cure­ment ten­der com­mit­tee in April 2017 fol­low­ing a re­quest that was made in Fe­bru­ary 2017,” Phasiwe said.

Eskom en­cour­aged its em­ploy­ees to blow the whis­tle on sus­pi­cious acts of mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion, he added.

“Mr Bala is not part of the in­ves­ti­gat­ing team ... The no­tion that he would abuse the process to pun­ish peo­ple who leaked in­for­ma­tion ... is un­founded,” Phasiwe said.

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