16 October 2017

South Africa: Eskom Dispels Office Furniture Media Reports

Eskom has moved to dispel media reports that it is inflated contracts for office furniture.

"Eskom rejects the malicious and misleading media reports that alleged that the company had 'wildly-inflated contracts' for office and meeting room chairs," said the power utility.

In a statement over the weekend, Eskom said it was incorrect to suggest that National Treasury had approved the purchase of only 500 chairs out of the 9 270 for which Eskom had applied.

"In a letter dated 7 August 2017, National Treasury expressly stated that it supported the procurement of 644 chairs (311 for Megawatt Park; 225 for Braamfontein and 108 for Academy of Learning offices), subject to Eskom returning the 100 chairs that it had borrowed from the Eskom Research and Innovation Centre, which is based in Germiston.

"The approval only relates to the acquisition of chairs for Eskom's Gauteng offices," said the power utility.

After National Treasury received additional information from Eskom, it further wrote another letter to the utility stating that the reasons provided for the acquisition of chairs was justifiable.

"Eskom is now awaiting finalisation of the entire contract modification request, which provides for Eskom's offices, power stations and customer network centres in other provinces."

In 2013, the Eskom Real Estate Department, which is accountable for property and furniture within Eskom, embarked on a Real Estate Master Plan Project, which covered 102 corporate office buildings across the country, with the aim of improving the quality of the workplace environment.

Some of the offices that were identified for refurbishment were found to be in a dilapidated state and not being compliant with Occupational Health and Safety regulations. They posed safety risks to employees and visitors, and therefore remedial action was recommended to mitigate that risk.

"As part of the refurbishment, Eskom requested National Treasury for approval to expand or modify a contract to buy new chairs as and when required. Some of the chairs in many of the Eskom sites are broken and pose a risk to employees," said the utility.

The power utility will take a directive from Treasury on the way forward.

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