De Ruyter: Eskom trying to avert risks while playing catch-up

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter in January, 2020.
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter in January, 2020.
Gallo Images/Business Day/Freddy Mavunda

Eskom is trying to avert risks while playing catch-up, group CEO Andre de Ruyter told Newzroom Africa in a television interview on Tuesday evening.

"We will try our best to catch up with overdue maintenance. Mid-life refurbishments which should have been carried out were deferred.... causing us to ramp up what we have to take off for maintenance," he said.

He added that SA should start procuring additional generation capacity within the next few years, an area where he sees an opportunity to attract new private capital investments.

Furthermore, he would like to see a faster timeline than three to four years within which to create an independent transmission operating company for Eskom as a key enabler to attract additional private capital into the generation sector.

As for reducing employee numbers, he said about a year ago Eskom had about 46 000 employees. This has since been reduced to about 44 000 by natural attrition, and the aim is to reduce to about 38 000 in five years' time, continuing with the natural attrition strategy.

In June De Ruyter told Fin24 that restructuring Eskom will be critical in making it attractive for private investments in future. He said Eskom's debt is one of the biggest challenges and has been eroding profitability. In his view, dealing with it will require a "multi-pronged" approach, including improving operational ability and recovering debt owed by municipalities.


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