#StateCaptureInquiry: 'We should have foreseen this' – Eskom board chair on load shedding

2019-02-22 17:27
Eskom chair Jabu Mabuza. (Brett Steele)

Eskom chair Jabu Mabuza. (Brett Steele)

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Chair of the Eskom board Jabu Mabuza says that the new board appointed in January 2018 should have foreseen the issue of load shedding.

"This is not an excuse, but it is important to remember that the board was put in place to deal with issues Eskom was facing at the time," he told the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture.

"What we are now having is not the problem we had at the time, maybe we should have foreseen it," Mabuza told the commission on Friday afternoon.

The chairperson of the new board tasked with cleaning up and addressing allegations of impropriety at the power utility following allegations of state capture was responding to the commission's evidence leader advocate Vincent Maleka, SC, on the question of whether the board had reflected on the primary causes of load shedding.

This comes after the nation was rocked by a series of power cuts, the most recent one occurring over a five-day period this month.

The commission prioritised the power utility first in its investigation into alleged state capture at state owned entities (SOEs) due to its centrality to the economy.

Need for skills

The return of load shedding was described as "an emergency" by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan last week Wednesday. Gordhan was speaking to the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises.

Fin24 earlier reported that the minister said he interrogated Eskom on the cause and learned that there were technical issues that had to be addressed.

"What I would like to assure [is that] everything is being done to ensure we minimise load shedding," he said.

ALSO READ - Load shedding: This is an emergency – Gordhan

Mabuza himself admitted before the commission that he was not that "knowledgeable" on engineering issues and that the power utility would require assistance to solve the problem.

"Clearly this problem cannot be solved by Eskom alone.

"We need to get people with skills to replace the current skill sets that are required to address issues of an operational and technical nature," he explained.

ALSO READ - Gordhan: Those responsible for Eskom's failures may soon be in 'orange uniforms'

The inquiry will resume on Monday with the continuation of Mabuza's testimony.

Read more on:    eskom  |  pravin gordhan  |  jabu mabuza  |  load shedding  |  state capture inquiry
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