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DA calls for Eskom bonus payback

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The payment of about R10.8 million in “incentives” last year to 10 top Eskom officials was challenged by the DA on Tuesday, with the party calling for the executives to pay back the money.

The Democratic Alliance also wants Public Enterprises Minister Lynn Brown to explain to parliamentarians why the executives received incentive bonuses even as they were presiding over the “collapse of the company”.

DA MP Natasha Mazzone said in a statement she had written to public enterprises portfolio committee chairwoman Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba requesting that she summon the minister to appear before the committee.

This follows a written reply by Brown to a parliamentary question, tabled on Monday, in which the minister reveals the incentives paid to Eskom executives over the past decade.

According to a table in her reply, 10 of the power utility’s executive members received a total of R10.759m in incentives during 2014, a year in which Eskom made an after-tax profit of R5.424 billion.

Brown’s reply comes less than a week after the minister suspended four senior Eskom executives, and announced an inquiry into its poor performance, including the running of its power stations, delays in bringing in the new Medupi station, and the utility’s cash flow problems.

The question on bonuses was posed by the DA.

Mazzone said she would be submitting follow-up questions to find out what criteria were used to determine the awarding of bonuses, and whether they were performance-related.

“The DA has previously called for Eskom executives to pay pack the estimated R63m they have been rewarded with since load shedding began in 2008. We see no reason why this call is not applicable in this circumstance.”

If Brown was serious about resolving the current crisis at Eskom, she should put an immediate freeze on executive bonuses until the company was stable.

“Anything short of this sends the message that failure at Eskom is acceptable,” Mazzone said. SAPA

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