The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) warned that load-shedding would continue to worsen if the government refuses to put value for money before race-based procurement.
The IRR has written to Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa to underscore the urgency of implementing the Zondo Commission’s recommendation of putting value for money first.
Minister Ramokgopa’s warning that stage 7 or even stage 8 load-shedding was now possible shows that South Africans should brace themselves for worsening power cuts this winter.
“One immediate step the government can take is to exempt Eskom from racial procurement to ensure it derives maximum value for money,” it said.
“This will reduce corruption at the power utility, which has been a significant factor in load-shedding.”
The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture Report describes a scale of corruption at Eskom that will require hard work to overcome.
However, it said a positive start could be noted: “The primary national interest is best served when the government derives the maximum value-for-money in the procurement process, and procurement officials should be so advised”.
“The negative repercussions identified by the Zondo Commission are clear reasons to opt for an approach where either race comes first, or maximum value for money comes first.”
The Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) empowers finance minister Enoch Godognwana to “exempt any organ of state from any or all the provisions” of the Act’s racial preferencing if “it is in the public interest”.
The IRR said it is definitely in the public interest to do away with race-based procurement, which is closely associated with corruption.