Eskom in talks to sell Mpumalanga housing project

The cash-strapped power utility blew R800 million on the project meant for Kusile workers.

The Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Department plans to extend a lifeline to the country’s embattled power giant. Eskom is in advanced negotiations with the department to buy off an abandoned housing project in Mpumalanga that was supposed to house Kusile workers.

The project began in 2008 at R160 million, but costs ballooned inexplicably to R800 million, and construction was never completed.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) apparently knew nothing of the project, saying Eskom had given workers housing and travel allowances for the 50km commute.

If the Human Settlements Department does take the building off Eskom’s hands, the development will be at a reduced cost. The 336-unit block of flats is valued at R110 million, but the building shows signs of derelict after construction was abandoned in 2019.

Eskom said it is investigating allegations of corruption and maladministration concerning the project. The sale comes as the cash-strapped power utility scrambles to plug its R464 billion debt from defaulting municipalities.