Imagine you ran the company you work for into the ground.
Imagine that plunged the entire country into darkness.
Now imagine that you asked the citizens of that country to cough up a further R1,8 billion to pay bonuses, on top of the billions already forked out to stop Eskom from plunging into insolvency, and you are scratching the surface of what South Africa’s taxpayers are looking at.
According to court papers filed by the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa), this past weekend would have seen Stage Four load shedding, if so many businesses weren’t still on holiday.
Nersa is now ready to do battle with the power utility, reports City Press:
In the court papers, filed by Nersa last week, Nomfundo Maseti, the acting full-time member of Nersa for electricity, does not mince her words about the public having to pay for the incompetence and maladministration at Eskom.
She cites the bonuses as an example, and said that it “came to Nersa’s attention” that Eskom plans to pay bonuses totalling R1.8 billion between last year and 2022.
These plans were not revealed in the version of Eskom’s tariff application, which was published for public comment.
Nersa refused to allow additional tariff increases for the payment of bonuses, but Eskom is challenging Nersa’s decisions in court.
Hiding the payments from the public, and then taking Nersa to court when you’re refused your bonuses, takes some real nerve.
Then again, Eskom has a history of richly rewarding its employees whilst the wheels come off:
City Press’ sister publication Rapport previously reported that Eskom paid bonuses of R4.2 billion in 2017…
In 2016, performance bonuses of R2.1 billion were paid.
Last year, Eskom supposedly did not pay performance bonuses, but, after strike action, it agreed to pay more than 30 000 workers a “once-off payment” of R10 000 after tax.
These bonus payments are structured in such a way that many employees can increase their salaries by more than 40% with short-term bonuses.
For those in management, a combination of short-term and long-term bonuses can see their salaries doubled.
A touch of sanity has prevailed, with long-term bonuses having been halted since 2017, but there are still far too many folks stealing a living in Eskom’s upper echelons.
The latest round of load shedding, implemented over the weekend, was due to the failure of a conveyor belt that feeds coal to the Medupi power station in Limpopo.
That, and decades of failure to implement any sort of long term plan to keep South Africa’s lights on.
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