The DA has welcomed Eskom’s cancellation of its participation at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
“Though we welcome the cancellation of the WEF trip, Eskom is now claiming not to be a sponsor of the Davos event when reports state otherwise,” Natasha Michael, Democratic Alliance spokeswoman on public enterprises, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“To this end, I will still be submitting parliamentary questions regarding the costs of Eskom’s involvement with the WEF and the costs of any existing sponsorship agreements.”
She said Eskom required its leadership to be situated firmly in the driver’s seat and not thousands of kilometres away discussing issues that were of no apparent operational or institutional value to Eskom.
“Attendance of the WEF by the executives would have been complete hypocrisy as Eskom is on the immediate brink of bankruptcy and the nation’s electricity supply is intermittent.”
Eskom announced on Monday that it had withdrawn its participation at the World Economic Forum.
“It is important to note that the chief executive of Eskom Mr Tshediso Matona’s attendance had already been cancelled on 9 January 2015 at his own discretion — prior to questions being asked about Eskom’s attendance at Davos,” the power utility said in a statement.
“At that time, only the chairman Mr Zola Tsotsi and the group executive for sustainability, Dr Steve Lennon, were confirmed to go.
“We have taken note of the public concern and have withdrawn our participation accordingly. Mr Tsotsi and Dr Lennon will therefore not be attending the meeting in Davos.”
Eskom said it was a global business and its long-term sustainability was as important as the immediate term issues it was facing.
It said its leaders had to take care of both immediate and long-term aspects of the business. Engaging with global leaders, energy experts, investors, funders, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and maintaining an international profile was part of ensuring this long-term sustainability.
“It is for this reason that Eskom has a long-standing relationship with the WEF. The WEF’s assistance in forging partnerships in areas as diverse as climate change, anti-corruption, universal energy access, innovation and funding has been invaluable.”
Eskom said it reviewed its participation at the World Economic Forum and other relevant global events on an annual basis and would make a determination based on business priorities, and the need to remain relevant and up to date in both the national and international context.