Eskom considers blacklisting suspended fuel company

Cape Town – Eskom is considering blacklisting one of the companies that it has suspended doing business with following its implication in irregular practices.

This emerged when the power utility appeared before the standing committee on public accounts to answer questions on the deviation and expansion of contracts that were submitted to the National Treasury for approval.

In the 2020/21 financial year, audit firm Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo-Grant Thornton performed the audit on behalf of the Office of Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke.

The auditors found that a contract was awarded to Econ Oil & Energy in 2019 at the recommendation of the former chief procurement officer after irregularities in a previous contract with the supplier were discovered.

On Tuesday, ANC MP Bernice Swarts asked the status of Eco Oil & Energy and who would foot the bill in the defamation lawsuit instituted by the company against Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter.

In her response, legal and compliance group executive Mel Govender said Eskom was in various forms of litigation with Econ Oil & Energy.

Govender said the latest litigation involved a contract that was declared invalid, but lost on appeal at Supreme Court of Appeal and now it wants the appeal reconsidered.

“Eco Oil has been suspended following Eskom’s review process. The suspension itself has not been communicated yet to the National Treasury,” she said.

Govender also said there was no application to actually blacklist Econ Oil & Energy at this point in time.

“It is something Eskom has in the pipeline and currently it is considering,” she said.

“Due to various forms of irregular conduct, fraud and corruption, that has been identified against Econ Oil, we are not trading with Econ Oil. That is a business decision we have taken.”

On the defamation case, Govender said the matter had been silent for some time.

“We have not heard from Econ Oil,” she said. “In terms of cost allocation and how the legal fees are to be paid, I don’t have a mandate to speak on that.

“If I could take an instruction, I could revert back,” Govender said in reference to the defamation against De Ruyter.