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Power cuts to continue for next 18 months – Brown

Minister instructs Eskom’s board to fill all senior management positions.

South African power utility Eskom will continue to impose power cuts for the next 18 months as the company struggles with capacity shortages, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said on Thursday.

Brown, whose ministry oversees state-owned companies, said that she was concerned with Eskom’s financial sustainability and the reliability of its ageing power plants.

“Although the accelerated maintenance has increased plant capacity from 65% to 75%, I am urging Eskom to continue on this trend and increase this threshold to reach at least 80%,” Brown said in a statement after Eskom’s annual general meeting.

Eskom, which provides virtually all the electricity in Africa’s most developed economy, is facing a funding crunch as it races to bring new power plants online and is implementing power cuts to prevent the grid from being overwhelmed.

The company in March suspended its chief executive and three other senior executives to allow for an inquiry into the operations of the utility, but no wrongdoing was found by any of the officials. Some of the suspended executive left the company.

Brown said on Tuesday she had instructed the board to fill all senior management positions as it was “unacceptable that senior and middle-management positions are staying vacant for too long.”

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