Eskom paid R80,000 for knee guards worth R300

Eskom chief executive André de Ruyter uncovered that Eskom had paid R80,000 for knee guards worth less than R300.

News24 reported that De Ruyter had requested that Eskom take action against suppliers found to have overcharged the power utility.

De Ruyter looked into the overcharges when little headway was made and investigated the overspend with Eskom’s internal forensics department.

Eskom discovered that three suppliers had been paid R3 million for knee guards, one of which had failed to deliver a single pair.

Another admitted to having charged Eskom R934,000 for knee pads worth R4,000.

The knee guards are worn by workers when they clean the insides of pipes and chimneys at power stations and can be purchased for less than R300.

With De Ruyter’s investigation, recovery of the overspending has begun, with R1.2 million being paid back to the company at the start of August.

Solly Tshitangano
Solly Tshitangano

Overspending at Eskom has been an ongoing issue, with former procurement officer Solly Tshitangano suspended and eventually fired in February for misconduct and failing to carry out his duties.

A previous report revealed Eskom paid R26 per single one-ply toilet paper roll, R51 per black refuse bag, and R21 for a litre of milk.

De Ruyter also provided examples where orders with excessive values were placed for various components by buyers at the Matla and Kendal power stations.

In one instance, a buyer at Kendal Powers Station placed an order to refurbish two compressors to the value of R368,550.

It was later discovered that the company that received the contract had sub-contracted another company to perform the work, which in turn sub-contracted yet another company.

The job was ultimately completed for R41,400, R327,150 less than what was paid to the company that received the contract.

Eskom further discovered the price of two completely new compressors would have been R112,000.

“We spend R140-billion buying goods and services. We are paying more than what we should be paying. R2-billion savings is not a lot; it’s about 4% of R140-billion,” De Ruyter said.

“That is exceptionally modest, but Solly has not delivered what was asked of him.”

The power utility has laid criminal complaints with the South African Police Service and continues its efforts to recover money from suppliers.

Now Read: Goodbye Eskom — What it costs to go off-grid

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Eskom paid R80,000 for knee guards worth R300