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Exclusive on Eskom: Terminated, not fired

Susan Olsen, whose warning memo in 2007 was ignored, puts the record straight.

TEXAS – During the past seven or eight weeks, my name and a memo I wrote two years ago have been bandied about in the media as being anything from prophetic to preposterous.  It seems to me that the time has come for me to attempt to set the record straight.

First, I was not fired by Jacob Maroga; he and I had never even been introduced before we met in his office in July of 2007 to discuss the content of the July 19 memo.  However, by the end of that meeting, Mr. Maroga asked whether I would be willing to advise him directly with regard to Primary Energy’s activities.  I agreed.

Second, the former general manager of Eskom’s Primary Energy department and I had agreed in early April to begin winding up the balance of my 18 month consulting services contract.  I had initiated the winding up as the result of being increasingly and effectively prohibited from fulfilling the terms of that agreement and advised the former GM that as such, it was a waste of my time and Eskom’s money for me to remain.  However, in the middle of those negotiations and without notice, this GM terminated negotiations as well as the balance of the consulting services agreement.

Third, two weeks after our meeting, Mr. Maroga advised me that he would be unable to engage my services to advise him directly but thanked me for considering it.

So why did I write the memo? I believed and still believe I had an obligation to deliver a report of my findings and professional opinion; the meeting was arranged in order to make that delivery.

So what happened?  Looking back, I imagine that when Mr. Maroga approached the senior staff of Primary Energy with the memo I had written, they assured him that it was incorrect and in any event, fixes to the problems were already in progress.  Also, as Mr. Maroga had only been on the job a couple of months, new CEOs are inclined to trust their senior staff and I imagine he did just that. 

From nearly the day I arrived at MegaWatt Park, I was recommending radical changes to Primary Energy.  I had even recommended restructuring Primary Energy into an independent fuel services division that would make its procurement practices transparent as well as being incumbent upon sound research and market knowledge to meet or beat annual price projections.  Its funding would come solely from any margin it was able to earn between projected and actual prices monitored, of course, by relevant and independent executive staff.

I have no idea as to what has happened to or in Primary Energy during these past two years but from reports in the media, it appears as though not much has changed.  Of course, all clients have the right to reject the advice of consultants.  Am I disappointed – of course.  But perhaps more than anything, I am saddened by the time and opportunities that Primary Energy has apparently chosen to lose. 

*Susan Olsen is the US consultant whose warning memo in 2007 was studiously ignored by Eskom.



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Why is she surprised. I am not having been brought up in nAfrica I am fully aware that in the African Culture other than family matters woman have no standing and do not get the required respect from the Black Males. That is the african way

Nowhere in the Pedi dictionary is there a word for electricity – it doesn’t exist.

fee she earnt over the 18 month period! I wonder if she had knowledge of what had been going on at the mothballed power stations where everything was illegally being stripped and carried away by all and sundry?

a well written and reasoned summary of the person involved. All it does is heap even more shame on the heads of those responsible for the blackouts. Of course the scum responsible have no shame and could not care less other than for their own salaries and bonuses.

What would the JSE Boarse be in Pedi .

Oh i forgot , the black africans did not have a stock exchange .

Please epublish the memo!

Unfortunately you are spot on,
The difference between the pre-94 & post-94 apartheid regimes is that the former had shame when caught.

stock exchange in Pedi means lobola.

They did not want to restructure because they were making very nice kickbacks, thanks.

The black woman in Africa are now starting to raise their voices at the appalling treatment handed out to them by their men so what chance did this white woman have? Get me more girls, get me a machine gun, I need a few more wives and plenty more kids for the wives to look after, some more BMW’s from the tax payers, and let all the corrupt people out of jail so we can pardon them and where can I get some Toyi Toying dancing lessons to improve my technique when protesting daily on behalf of the communists and lets encourage as many Zimbabwians to move into SA and create more unemployment for the communist South Africans who do not want to work anyway. Oh dear what a mess. No education no jobs no health care no housing no opposition. Plenty of rape, aids, fatherless kids, murder, corruption, crime, violent crime, breeding.

The pre-94 lot also felt no shame when caught. It leaves me cold to say so.

since when has common sense prevailed when those in charge are thicker than a plank? They’d rather scoop their kidneys out with a spoon than admit they should’ve paid attention to the memo but noooo. Eish

Does it matter what she earned ? ?

She was there to do a job and was prevented from doing it, by idiots who were – and still are “in the dark. !” Bottom line!

We should go after Jacob Maroga for damanges and derelection of duty, he shames us all.

I think this article opens up more questions than answers. Looks like Maroga is the scapegoat. What about all the senior managers??

You have a point, however this country still has specialist consultants in her field who could have done the same job for a quarter of the price! In consequence to lastsaid my question still stands, because is is the responsibility of the executive to ensure that scarce resources are spent as efficiently as possible, otherwise SA will become yet another basket case quicker than anyone could have envissaged. Maybe it is the “she” factor which you might be responding to and not the “consultant” factor!

In the 1990’s I had a similar consultancy agreement with another RSA parastatal to fix SAA Cargo. I managed to get Russian built aircraft and we operated throughout Africa. I then refused to transport weapons to Rwanda. (As did the Russians) I still have the news article where the ANC was quoted to know about it, but did nothing. (Refer this to Mr Stroebel of the Dept of Foreign Affairs). I lost the contract and some R300 000 rand in the process. The total losses must be very close to R2m. Not even my international military connections could move these ou’s. (Not mercenaries, though) These guys are much worse than the Mafia and I believe they still run the country and most of Africa. That’s why one should never work for a parastatal. These a#&*holes need consultants as they are to inexperienced to operate their own businesses. As in the case of the NP government, the ANC only appoint friends and cadres.

and who was the former GM Primary Energy? looks like he had more power than Maroga, pun intended. how else do u get the consultant that the CEO requested fired? on another note, when did MW start attracting the filth that comment on these pages, do they even read the articles?

“Hau! six munce ago I wish I was a enjineer, Eh! an now I are one!!! “

Pay a consultant then ignore their advice,get rid of anyone ( especially a woman ) who proves to be cleverer than you are,sabotage your boss by deflecting blame,look the other way when things go wrong and at all costs

avoid reponsibility.I guess Bobby considered this a problem impossible to

put right.

maniweb ridas are probably the damest peple alive.

So do you know what she earned or not? You ask the question and then claim already to know the answer.

Pity the ‘powers’ that be did not have themselves trained on things

(electricity supply/roads/airways/municipalities/water/education/radio-the list goes on)

By now, if they were trained things could have been different (10 years plus)

But the ‘old men’ were just simply sidelined and replaced with the ‘buddy system’ I have a job for a friend forget about the education-call i n the consultants (at a cost) to advise and do all the work.

Thanks for setting the record straight Susan. Indeed SA Whites are confirmed racists and this was learnt from their Forefathers. They were fed poison and its difficult to spit. Its no joke that SA will still experience this abnormal behaviour. We must resist it with the might it deserves. Racism stinks.

So typical of all you to be nagative and racist. That is all black and white people do and no guess why racial tensions are high.

But on the topic, Eskom should now ask were to and the merits and demerits evaluated to find common solutions to a problem that could cripple the economy.

Wow, the more things change the more they stay the same. I was involved when Thomas the Tank engine was still toot-tooting around. The Eskom income statement is a very interesting one :- costs are divided into three areas:- primary energy, asset amortisation and maintenance and then other stuff. So, the power of the primary energy team has always been substantial. Despite the complexity, risks, longterm contracts etc …. it has never really had the right resources and focus.

African culture is pretty much like Afrikaner culture when it comes to women. Unless if you can show me the difference.

Why outside consultants when all the skills are here

Give me, give me. All for the Chief.

Give me, give me. All for the Chief.

@Aba you are spot on!

No accountability from Eskom just massive price hikes to pay for even more incompetence. Gives new meaning to “black out”…

Push for movement of Laager hoaders to be more productive… the myth of white efficiency!!!!!!! and the resultant persecution of African managers as they seek to hide their incompetent behinds

More than half the comments posted here are founded in complete ignorance, stupidity, or — what is most tragic — ignorant, stupid bigotry.

Instead of shooting off at the mouth (or keyboard), get a clue about what you are talking about. Try to make your comments relevant. But most importantly, try not to act “doff”, blind, or arrogant — it just labels you as a fool.

End of comments.





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