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Westinghouse files application against Eskom

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Westinghouse Electric SA has filed a contempt of court application against Eskom in the High Court in Johannesburg for allegedly failing to comply with a court order relating to a multi-billion rand tender.

“This application for contempt of court follows several unsuccessful attempts by Westinghouse legal representatives to obtain important files relating to the tender selection process and decision-making,” Westinghouse spokeswoman Ruth Kolevsohn said in a statement, issued on Thursday.

The application was filed on Monday.

An initial court application relating to Eskom’s awarding of the R4 billion tender to French company Areva NP Proprietary was filed in court in September by Westinghouse, a nuclear technology supplier.

The tender was for replacing steam generators at the Koeberg nuclear power plant.

Westinghouse believed the tender process was flawed and wanted all documentation that helped Eskom choose Areva to be made available to it.

The court ordered that Eskom supply the documentation to Westinghouse within five calendar days of September 5. Westinghouse claims the utility failed to comply with this order.

Eskom commercial group executive Matshela Koko told Sapa on Friday that Westinghouse’s claims were false.

“We dispute that documentation was not supplied to Westinghouse. We have given them all the relevant information, as per the court order,” he said in a telephone interview.

“Where we stand is that they have been given what was requested in the court order. We will go to court and we are confident that in the end the court will find us in order.”

He said Eskom was also confident that the court would find that “Westinghouse is abusing the court process”.

“We are confident, we are not worried. We will not be distracted from implementing the Koeberg steam generator contract.”

Areva’s contract was to design, manufacture and install six steam generators at Koebergs’s two reactors in 2018.

Westinghouse managing director Frederik Wolvaardt has claimed that his company was the tender winner until Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown was told about the decision of the tender committee, according to Afrikaans daily Beeld.

On Friday, Westinghouse was adamant that it would exercise its rights.

“Westinghouse will continue to exercise all of its legal rights to ensure the actions and decisions of the Eskom management during the tender process are transparent,” said Kolevsohn.

“Westinghouse believes that if the timeline for the legal review process, as set down by the court, is adhered to by all parties there should be no delay with the replacement of the six steam generators in 2018 at the Koeberg nuclear power station.” SAPA

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