The DA welcomes Treasury’s decision to withdraw Eskom’s exemption from being held accountable

Issued by Dr Dion George MP – DA Shadow Minister of Finance
08 Jun 2023 in News

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the withdrawal of Eskom’s exemption from specific sections of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). This reversal is not a random act of conscientiousness, but a clear response to the steadfast pressure applied by the DA, bolstered by our threat to resort to legal measures should the exemption have been carried through.

Yet, the National Treasury’s reasoning for its initial stance – that State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are wrestling with technical impediments in compliance reporting – remains highly questionable. They argue for a distinction between corrupt and suspicious transactions versus expenditures undertaken in good faith but failing to adhere to a multitude of financial and non-financial laws. This reasoning is akin to a magician’s sly wink as he palms the coin – an attempt to add an illusory sheen of credibility to their actions.

Such a stance obscures the real issues plaguing Eskom and other SOEs – corruption on an industrial scale, bad faith transactions, an overly centralised public sector, and systemic criminality. Applying such a veneer only serves to deepen the mistrust of the public and erodes the integrity of these organisations and the government at large.

The mere proposal that Eskom should be exempted from disclosing irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure in its annual financial statements has undermined the South Africans’ faith in the National Treasury and the Minister of Finance and their role as custodians of public funds.

It is well known that the SOEs have been grossly mismanaged. However, the Minister of Finance must devise more transparent and efficient mechanisms to rectify historical missteps. Such mechanisms should not offer clandestine pathways to escape scrutiny but should instead foster a culture of accountability and good governance.

The withdrawal of the PFMA exemption is but the first step. Government must also demonstrate authentic commitment to curbing corruption and maladministration, rather than disguising insufficient attempts as genuine action. This will require competent political will, strong governance, and decisive decision-making.

The DA will not relent in our mission to hold the National Treasury and Eskom accountable for their usage of taxpayers’ funds. We urge South Africans to join us in this endeavour by continuing to voice their concerns in demanding transparency and accountability from our public institutions.

We remain resolute: South Africans deserve an unfaltering commitment to combating corruption and promoting responsible governance. Only a DA government can deliver on this commitment.

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