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Eskom left in limbo as SA stalls appointment of CEO

;Competing interest groups each have their preferred candidate…’ – Eurasia Group director.

The South African government has repeatedly stalled the appointment of a new chief executive officer at the debt-stricken state power utility, evidence of how politically fraught the process has been.

Loss-making Eskom poses the biggest risk to the economy and naming a permanent CEO to turn it around is widely seen as a top priority for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration. The government has missed several self-imposed deadlines to fill the post.

“The delay in announcing the CEO is another clear indication of the power struggle around Eskom,” said Darias Jonker, a London-based director at Eurasia Group. “Competing interest groups each have their preferred candidate and Ramaphosa is yet again wavering over a key government decision.”

Eskom, which supplies about 95% of the nation’s economy, owes R450 billion that it can’t afford to service and is struggling to meet demand for electricity from its old and poorly maintained plants. The government has said it is too big to fail and has allocated it R138 billion in bailouts over the next three years to ensure it remains solvent.

Ramaphosa said almost a month ago that the appointment would be made “soon,” a pledge he’s repeated several times since, while Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan told Johannesburg-based radio station 702 the name would be announced by November 10. And Jackson Mthembu, a minister in the presidency, said on October 31 that the cabinet had made its selection — but it remains under wraps.

Among three candidates shortlisted are former LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz and Jacob Maroga, who was Eskom CEO from 2007 to 2009. Jabu Mabuza, the utility’s chairman, has filled the post in an interim capacity since Phakamani Hadebe quit in July.

Eskom referred questions about the appointment to the Department of Public Enterprises. Its spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The new CEO will help oversee government plans to split Eskom into generation, transmission and distribution units under a state holding company — a breakup opposed by powerful labor unions who see it as a precursor to privatisation and job losses.

© 2019 Bloomberg

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Very telling who is in charge (and who not) when you read this.

“Ramaphosa is yet again wavering over a key government decision.”

What difference can a new CEO make?? Eskom is stuffed beyond repair. The useless ANC is the problem not the lack of CEO. Smoke and mirrors.

“Eskom left in limbo as SA stalls appointment of CEOGovernment has missed repeated deadlines to act.”

Errrr … haven’t I heard this before? Again and again? This isn’t news … same old same old.

What Eskom really needs is someone from global business to come in and start cracking the whip. Oh, wait! That won’t work either because the unions will go crying to Dear Cyril that he will be losing their vote.

So down the drain we go…

What do you have to pay a competent captain to turn the sinking Titanic around, while he puts his life on the line in the process?

If it’s this hard for the guy just to get appointed, imagine how hard it’s going to be for him to take the right remedial actions.

The only CEO that’ll get an easy ride is the one who will do nothing. Fire no staff, take 3 years to split the company, just ask for more bailouts.

Indeed, it’s a wonder they haven’t appointed this guy already. Seems obvious the first pick was Andries Carlitz but they first need to get him out of the way. After all of this nonsense, Carlitz would be crazy to accept anyway.

Then the right guy can get the job.

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