We need to get our 'house in order' to fix our 'brokenness' – Eskom exec in leaked memo

Eskom Chief Operating Officer Jan Oberholzer has appealed to staff to help the power utility fix its "brokenness".

In a leaked memo, which had various pictures attached of poor workmanship, Oberholzer called on staff to be accountable and to take "ownership" of the work and tasks they do.

"If we are to fix our 'brokenness', it can only be achieved through a change in conscience, and a real commitment to serve for the bigger good of oneself.  Good governance and an understanding of whose accountable for what, when and how – means that everyone understands what is expected and has absolute clarity of  their roles and responsibilities, and how it impacts  the overall success of Eskom and the country," he said.

"We need to get our house in order and functioning effectively."


Oberholzer described the health index of the organisation as vulnerable. He called on staff to play their part in reforming the organisation.

"Ownership is about taking the initiative and being responsible for doing what one is contracted to do in the most efficient and most cost-effective way for the best interest of the organisation.

"If ownership is about being responsible and taking initiative, then accountability is about follow through and ensuring that the job is done within the stipulated timeframe. Accountability is also about understanding that we work within a dynamic and fluid system and that other team members are reliant on the results of our work," Oberholzer said in the memo.

The memo also included pictures of wastage. Oberholzer challenged staff members to take responsibility for it. "If this was your company – what would you do differently?  Would you accept this deliberate wastage and financial burden on yourself?" he asked.

eskom wastage

The memo included pictures of wastage. (Photo: Eskom)

Oberholzer also highlighted that vandalism and theft were a challenge. Four cases of vandalism had cost Eskom R115.7m.

"Normalisation costs for the four cases is estimated to be +- R115.7 million. Now ask yourself what is the total loss to Eskom countrywide?," Oberholzer put to staff.

Theft and vandalism at Eskom

Oberholzer said that four cases of vandalism had cost Eskom around R115.7m. (Photo: Eskom)

The embattled power utility has in recent years been beset by allegations of state capture and corruption, among other things. It also faces crippling debt of almost R500bn.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently appointed an Eskom Task Team to get to the bottom of the utility's woes.

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