Ramokgopa and the Eskom board spent R12 billion on diesel in 4 months to mislead South Africans

Issued by Samantha Graham-Maré MP and Ghaleb Cachalia MP –
28 Jul 2023 in News
  • There is no end to load-shedding as the country is currently averaging stage 4 every week.
  • The minister of electricity seem to have intervened in operational matters at Eskom with a plan to burn as much diesel as possible to keep the lights on, with Eskom already spending R12.4-billion of its R27.9-billion diesel budget.
  • The DA demands that Ramokgopa and Eskom Board answer  South Africans as to what plans they have in place to keep the lights on when the diesel budget runs out before the end of 2023.

Based on available evidence, it is now conclusively clear that the marginal and temporary reprieve in load-shedding between April and June was not the result of improvements in generation capacity but a deliberate action by the Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, and the Eskom Board to burn more diesel in order to achieve an artificial bump in generation capacity.

The immediate outcome of this ill-advised strategy is that, not only is it unsustainable – the country is currently averaging stage 4 of load-shedding every week, but Eskom is now on course to blow its diesel budget before the end of its financial year in March 2024.

As Ramokgopa’s Big Lie about improved generation capacity starts to unravel, the DA now strongly suspects that he may have directly intervened in operational matters at Eskom and demanded that they ramp up the use of Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) despite the fact that they are only designed for use during peak periods. Additionally, even though plant maintenance is low in winter, there may have been a deliberate decision taken to keep the plants running at all costs. The current plant breakdowns do conclusively support that theory.

Reports indicate that Eskom has already spent R12.4-billion of its R27.9-billion diesel, four months into its 2023/24 financial year, which ends on 31 March 2024. This expenditure easily surpasses the amount of money spent on diesel over a comparable period in 2022. At this rate, chances are high that Eskom will soon be issuing a distress signal to Treasury asking for a top-up on the diesel budget.

The reality, however, is that Treasury will probably not come to the rescue as it has always been on record saying that they simply do not have the money to keep funding Eskom’s diesel-burning Open Cycle Gas Turbines. The question that Ramokgopa and Eskom Board should answer directly to South Africans is, what plans do they have in place to keep the lights on when the diesel budget runs out before the end of 2023?

Ramokgopa has proven to be a dishonest broker on what is essentially the worst crisis to ever face democratic South Africa. His involvement in operational matters at Eskom, could yet prove to be the final straw that broke the camel’s back. He must account for the role he played, and the supposed concurrence of the Eskom Board, in forcing Eskom to burn R12 billion in just 4 months.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at check.da.org.za