Eskom blacks out chunk of labour force

2010-04-17 10:28

ESKOM is planning a major restructuring, which could involve a

partial privatisation and a major shake-up of its labour force.

In the latest edition of Finweek, Sikonathi Mantshantsha reports

that Eskom has asked international mergers and acquisitions teams of financial

giants JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs to advise it on a ­proposed


Finweek has been informed that the company may be split up and

certain of its assets privatised, in a similar fashion to that of arms ­utility


The first business unit apparently on the line is


Up to half of its labour force may be sold off to new owners as

part of the partial privatisation and jobs may be on the line.

The restructuring idea is the brainchild of Eskom’s newest

executives, human resources director Bhabhalazi Bulunga and finance ­director

Paul O’Flaherty. They ­respectively joined the company from South African

Airways and a construction company based in ­Dubai. O’Flaherty confirmed to

Finweek that Eskom was considering restructuring.

“Organisations such as Eskom need internal efficiency and

productivity. We need to show we can also produce something ourselves – some

savings – and not only rely on external funders,” he told the ­magazine.

The plan is to produce some internal savings while the public

utility scours the markets to produce the R45 billion funding gap in its capital

investment programme. Over the next six months Eskom will produce a plan that

seeks to ­reduce overheads to make it a “lean and mean” operation, O’Flaherty


Bulunga was head of SAA’s ­human resources team – which ­reduced

the national carrier’s staff complement by about 20% in 2008 – credited by the

current management as having laid the foundation for its R398 million profit

last year.

Eskom approached Bulunga to fill one of three key senior positions

that had been vacant for more than a year in its executive committee.

While the World Bank recently approved a R28 billion loan for

Eskom, the utility is under pressure after a R9 billion loss last year.

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