President Cyril Ramaphosa says the new Eskom board is expected to undertake a full assessment of the efficiency of managers and operators at the power utility.
The President was speaking during a question and answer session in the National Assembly on Thursday.
The beleaguered electricity supplier has been facing serious challenges at its power stations, leading to months of load shedding, with only brief respites in between.
Answering questions on whether or not current Eskom CEO, Andre de Ruyter, should retain his position, President Ramaphosa said the new board will soon undertake an assessment of all managers at Eskom.
“The Group CEO reports to the Eskom board, which conducts performance reviews against agreed targets. The new Eskom board was appointed on 1 October (2022) and will be given the space to assess what needs to be done to improve efficiency of the existing plant and effectiveness of the management and operators at all levels.
“The new board has the skills, experience and the expertise to undertake a thorough assessment of current executive leadership at Eskom and take whatever steps they consider necessary to address areas of weaknes,s and they must be given the space to do so,” he said.
The President emphasised that allowing the board to do its assessments is critical, as the power utility has undergone a high volume of leadership change at the executive level .
“There is no State entity that has had as many CEOs as Eskom… We need to have a proper assessment of everybody at Eskom. We also need to have an assessment of our various power stations. That process is underway.
“I’d like us to allow the board to embark on this process and they will be able to brief [government] on what their assessment is, and it is then that they will propose how best the matter should be handled.
“Eskom has gone through enormous challenges and difficulties. Let us give them the support they need so that they can do their work. Where they fail, clearly action does need to be taken but that is now a board matter,” he said.
The President said plans to upskill workers and reintroduce experienced former Eskom employees is underway to address the current load shedding challenges.
Furthermore, President Ramaphosa explained these challenges have been both structural and operational.
“Among the structural challenges is the fact that there has been insufficient investment at the Eskom level in new generation capacity build that was needed two decades ago. This has resulted in a national capacity shortages of between 4 000MW and 6 000MW.
“As a result of these challenges, power stations were run very hard to their maximum capacity with poor reliability, maintenance and neglect of mid-life refurbishment.
“We need skilled people… with great knowledge and expertise. We are focusing on improving skills. We are focusing on bringing the skills in-house. There were many people who were very experienced at Eskom who left years ago and we are seeking to bring those back,” he said.
Source: South African Government News Agency