Empty: The Wilge Residential Development was meant to house workers on the nearby Kusile power plant. (Paul Botes/M&G)
In 2019, the Mail & Guardian reported that Eskom had squandered more than R300-million on building flats for construction workers at its Kusile power station.
When M&G reporters went to the Wilge Residential Development project they found what looked like well-thought-out accommodation, near the power plant. But it was empty. Some construction work was still being done on the 336 units, but they were not completed.
Eskom spent millions of rands on alternative accommodation 50km away, according to the M&G report, which meant workers had to take a bus there and back each day. Eskom said at the time that it had appointed attorneys to conduct an investigation into allegations of corruption, fraud and financial irregularities in the project.
On Wednesday, more than a year later, a meeting of parliament’s standing committee on public accounts heard how Eskom could not provide answers to the money spent on building the flats and that the costs for the development had gone from R160-million to R840-million, according to a report by TimesLive. Eskom promised to conduct further investigations.
Eskom’s debt had risen to R488-billion ($31.8-billion) by the end of March, Bloomberg reported in November last year. This was about 11% more than it owed the previous year.