Second member resigns from Ramaphosa's Eskom Task team

A second member of President Cyril Ramaphosa's task team on Eskom has stepped down, the Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko confirmed to Fin24.

Diko told Fin24 on Thursday via Whatsapp that Sy Gourrah head of ACTOM Power Systems had asked to leave the task team in December.

"She requested to be recused as the company she works for has dealings with Eskom and felt to avoid a potential conflict of interest, she asked the President to release her from the panel. The President acceded to her request," Diko said.

Gourrah, according to her Linkedin profile  is an electrical engineer and the general manager of power systems at electrical manufacturing company Actom, which has links to Eskom.

She was among eight individuals Ramaphosa appointed to the Eskom Sustainability Task Team in mid-December last year after the power utility announced rotational load shedding amidst system constraints.

The task team is meant to advise government actions on how to resolve the power utility's operational, structural and financial challenges, Fin24 reported previously

Last year former Eskom CEO Brian Dames also stepped down over the same reason as Gourrah.

The Presidency at the time issued a statement indicating that Dames resigned because of a "perceived conflict of interest relating to the scope of work and terms of reference of the Eskom Sustainability Task Team".

Dames is head of African Rainbow Energy and Power, founded by Patrice Motsepe, Ramaphosa's brother-in-law.

The panel is now left with six members: University of Cape Town Professor and energy expert Anton Eberhard, Chairperson of the Energy Intensive Users Group Tsakani Mthombeni, Infrastructure and regulatory economist Grové Steyn, Former National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni, mining magnate Mick Davis and researcher Busisiwe Vilakazi.

According to a report by Business Day in early December, Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza told an investor roadshow that the power utility wants government to absorb R100bn in debt.

The proposal could add 2% points to South Africa’s debt-to-GDP ratio, already a concern for ratings agencies and investors.

The task team’s initial recommendations are expected to be submitted to Ramaphosa by the end of January. 

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