Eskom’s new CEO takes the helm

Started early due to power crisis.
Image: Moneyweb

Eskom’s new chief executive took charge of the crisis-plagued utility on Monday, embarking sooner than planned on the mammoth task of fixing a national power deficit and restructuring debts that have hobbled South Africa‘s economy.

Andre de Ruyter, appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in November, will oversee a government plan to split state-owned Eskom into three units – for generation, transmission and distribution – in an attempt to make it more efficient.

Ramaphosa is trying to revive Africa‘s most advanced economy, which is flirting with recession, and attract new investment.

Eskom, which generates more than 90% of the country’s power, is in its current form widely viewed as the biggest impediment to growth, though the restructuring plan has taken shape against a backdrop of stubbornly high unemployment, and unions have pledged to fight it.

De Ruyter had been due to start work on Jan. 15, but the sense of crisis surrounding the firm, which has been leaderless since July and imposed the latest in a long run of power cuts at the weekend, persuaded him to take the helm early.

Saddled with unreliable coal-fired power stations, Eskom has struggled to meet demand since 2007, forcing it into several rounds of extensive power cuts. Outages last year dented economic output and shook investor confidence in Ramaphosa’s administration.

At the weekend, it cut up to 2 000 megawatts (MW) from the national grid due to a shortage of generating capacity.

Troubleshooter?

In a previous role as CEO of Nampak, de Ruyter steered the packaging company through financial difficulties, and part of his new brief is to restructure Eskom’s R450 billion debt pile.

An Eskom spokeswoman said on Monday he had met some Eskom staff over recent public holidays and had been getting to know the business.

De Ruyter’s predecessor, Phakamani Hadebe, stepped down in July, citing health reasons. Sources told Reuters at the time that another reason was that he felt frustrated at being excluded from important decisions affecting the utility.

One of Eskom’s largest trade unions, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), opposed de Ruyter’s appointment, labelling it a setback to efforts to promote more black professionals into senior corporate posts.

The NUM plans protests as a “welcoming party” for him, and it and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa have said they will fight the plan to split Eskom, which they fear will lead to large-scale job losses and privatisation.

Eskom said in a statement on Monday that roughly 13 000 megawatts (MW) of its 44 000 MW nominal capacity were offline because of plant breakdowns.

It said it didn’t expect “load-shedding ” – a local term for power cuts – on Monday but that the system was “constrained and vulnerable”.

COMMENTS   17

Sort by:
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Top voted

You must be signed in to comment.

SIGN IN SIGN UP

Welcome boss.
Your agenda;
1. Sack 85 % of staff.
2. Employ competent engineers.
3. Insist on no Government interference.
4. Cancel all exixting contracts to supply coal and diesel. Your buying / purchading department can do the job. If any purchase price is above the retail price there is collusion / corruption.
5. Have fun restoring ” power” to the masses.
.

Is it true that Eskom employees want bonuses? (A bit early for April fools)
Apparently the dying tax payer to pay R1.8 Billion.

If true, please borrow from the PIC and Government employee pension fund.
They have lots of money.

There are so many highly qualified and experienced individuals who are willing to add value to South African society. These individuals come with a skill set that can solve most of our contemporary economic problems. The experienced leader, who can execute a winning strategy, always employes the best, and the most efficient people in crucial positions. What we need is a meritocracy.

Nepotism is the opposite of meritocracy, therefore our socio-economic reality is the opposite of efficiency and success. The ANC government plans for failure, they strategise to fail, they implement failed strategies, and then, they blame the resulting disaster on capitalism.

When the accountability lies with the collective, as the ANC believes, then nobody is accountable. Nepotism thrives when nobody is held accountable. People die of hunger where nepotism thrives. There is a certain logic, a law of nature even, behind famine.

Famine does not simply appear. People vote for famine, they select for famine, they embrace the policies that lead to famine, and then, when it strikes, nepotism pleads with meritocracy for relief.

I for one stand firmly behind Mr. de Ruyter and firmly believes that he is going to kick Eskom straight and spanner them right.
We must give him chance to do his thing.

Don’t stand too firm.

I heard that standing firm for that long can cause painful medical conditions.

I think if the gentleman asked for crowd funding and volunteers to execute a forensic review (under the independent control of respected judges) of:
The coal supply contracts
The diesel supply contracts
The coal and pumped storage construction projects

he would get a lot of response from a lot of skilled people that are screaming for answers.

There must be tens of billions that should be clawed back for corruption and breach of contract.

Good luck to you Sir.You will need lots of it.

this dude is running into a burning buidling – good luck dude, you’re gonna need it.

Guess he is meeting the rest of the Troop today.

Forgive me for being a bit of a pessimist… However, during RCA (root cause analysis) one is expected to ask “why” 5x times, to then get to the true root cause of any occurrence…

Why, now?
Why, did the illustrious anc run out of competent cadres..?
Why, do we need a specific fall guy to eventually blame?
Why, with eskom – because let’s not kid ourselves, the south african sentiment hasn’t changed..
Why, begs so many questions……

Best Wishes Mr. De Ruyter

Go Go Mr de Ruyter!

Hope you had a good first day !

Good luck !

SAA is the correct proxy for Eskom. The organisation is dead, it just needs to be buried.

Half hearted fixes put in at this stage of the game are just trying to close the stable door long after the horse has bolted.

De Ruiter has an impossible job. The scale of what’s wrong and the lack of political will to fix any of it puts the unions back in the driving seat and you can see what they did with SAA.

They will surely do the same to Eskom. Completely silent in the era of state capture and bloating of the payroll, they are outraged by a white CEO and any attempts to chip away at their egregious privileges.

Load shedding is here to stay and by 2025 I wouldn’t be surprised if the power is off for 12 hours a day.

The biggest issue here is the total focus on ESKOM. This should be a two pronged approach. First establish a development deal with the independent electricity producers (wind/solar etc.) to absorb some of the staffing from Eskom. At the same time start the optimisation process within Eskom with two key priorities, procurement and maintenance. It boggles the mind in this day and age that a country would have 90% of it’s electricity generation within one entity… but then again the mindless can’t be boggled.

NUM needs a kick up the backside….or better still, to be kicked out. They are utterly self-centered and greedy, only looking out for their own interests, never South Africa’s. Such a pity that they are politically aligned to the ruling party and actually have a say. Ramaphosa needs to do a Thatcher and confront them. However if they do an illegal strike, then de Ruyter might just have a chance to get rid of the massive dead wood in Eskom.

Gosh i am sorry to say this, but run ‘boet’ this place is nothing more than piled up promises and excuses.

“Saddled with unreliable coal-fired power stations, Eskom has struggled to meet demand since 2007…”
I think the writer means that Eskom has gotten into this by not maintaining plant as it should have – leading to the (oddly named) unplanned breakdowns then load shedding.

End of comments.

LATEST CURRENCIES  

USD / ZAR
GBP / ZAR
EUR / ZAR

Podcasts

NEWSLETTERS WEB APP SHOP PORTFOLIO TOOL TRENDING CPD HUB

Follow us:

Search Articles:Advanced Search
Click a Company: