A no-show by ministers has sparked the anger of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).
Members of the inter-ministerial task team, chaired by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, were to brief the committee on municipal debt owed to Eskom on Tuesday.
But the meeting was adjourned after the committee was told Dlamini-Zuma could not be present as she had another meeting, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan was abroad and Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza could also not be present.
Eskom is in crisis and owed billions in municipal debt but not one minister was available to brief Scopa.
Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the committee was being undermined.
“Colleagues, I am not going to allow us to continue with this meeting because the inter-ministerial task team is not here. Because if we sit here and just tick the boxes and satisfy ourselves, then we are aiding and abetting this prevailing incompetence.”
The National Assembly will on Tuesday afternoon deal with the Special Appropriation Bill, which provides Eskom with a R59 billion bailout.
“Eskom has got a serious problem of municipalities unable to meet and service their debt and an intervention was put in place, not by us, but our duty is to hold accountable those that have been given that responsibility and that mandate.”
The DA’s Alf Lees said the no-show by the ministerial task team was “unacceptable”.
The committee heard that Dlamini-Zuma’s office confirmed as late as Monday that she would attend, only to learn at the start of the meeting that she could not be there.
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