The chief executive of South Africa’s power utility Eskom has been suspended to allow for an independent inquiry into the operations of the troubled utility, its chairman Zola Tsotsi said on Thursday.
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.
Tsotsi said the board of the state-run company had met on Wednesday and decided to suspend Eskom’s CEO Tshediso Matona and three other senior executives of the utility.
Tsotsi said the government had backed the probe, which he said would last at least three months.
Matona was appointed chief executive in August last year.
Zethembe Khoza, an Eskom non-executive board member, will assume the position of interim chief executive, said Tsotsi.
“We have asked the executive to step down in the interests of achieving results,” Tsotsi told a televised media briefing.
He stressed that there was “nothing sinister” about the suspensions or the enquiry.
Weary South Africans are subjected to frequent blackouts, and the government has said its economic growth forecast for 2015 could halve to 1 percent because of power constraints.