In an exclusive interview with Fin24 and Business Insider SA, the new CEO of Eskom, André de Ruyter said that he will ask Eskom's board for a mandate to "implement some significant changes" at the embattled utility. Click on the links below for articles about the interview:
Big changes are coming at Eskom – but exactly what they will be depends on a crucial board meeting at the end of this month.At that meeting, says new CEO André de Ruyter, he will be presenting a package of proposals to shake up the ailing utility that, if accepted, "will give us the mandate to implement some significant changes to how we do things".
De Ruyter also likened Eskom to a bicycle with a chain off, with its cyclist out of the saddle.
"What we need to do, and the metaphor I use with the Eskom team, is that we're a bit like a cyclist running next to the bicycle with the chain off, and when asked why we say, 'well we're too busy to put the chain back on'," he told Fin24.
"So we do need to slow down, put the chain back on, so that we can get back into the saddle and start pedalling again"
He also reported a remarkable improvement in the electricity payment rate among Soweto residents, which owe Eskom a collective R20bn in unpaid power bills.
"There's been a lot of good work done in Soweto of late," De Ruyter said, ascribing the recent change in the rate of payment to political intervention.
De Ruyter has vowed not to implement forced retrenchments at the beleaguered power utility, saying there is an opportunity to save billions in diesel costs instead.
"The president [Cyril Ramaphosa] has been very clear that there will be no forced retrenchments at Eskom, and that mandate is very clear and we will obviously respect that," he told Fin24.
However, he did not rule out voluntary severance packages, saying these would be assessed case by case, depending on the cost versus the benefit. Additionally, he said, natural attrition would contribute to employee numbers trending downwards.
In an interview with News24's Pieter du Toit on Tuesday, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said Eskom remains in critical condition and that De Ruyter will do what’s necessary to investigate and effect repairs to the whole of Eskom’s value and supply chain.
Looking at the nuts and bolts Gordhan explained that he and his team went to see exactly how a power station functions and what is needed to keep it operational. That meant identifying and investigating every part of the supply chain which keeps a power station going.
* Read News24’s full interview with Gordhan on Wednesday.