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Cabinet appoints new Eskom board after record load shedding

Cabinet on Friday, 30 September, approved a new board of directors at Eskom, after power outages reached record levels this year.
Minister of public enterprises Pravin Gordhan. 2018. Source: Reuters/Sumaya Hisham
Minister of public enterprises Pravin Gordhan. 2018. Source: Reuters/Sumaya Hisham

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan told a news conference that the new board would assume its duties over the weekend and would be chaired by Mpho Makwana who previously served on the Eskom board and currently chairs the Nedbank board.

Other new board members include senior business figures like Mteto Nyati who has held executive positions at telecoms company MTN and technology firm Altron, and former trade unionist Bheki Ntshalintshali.

Gordhan told reporters that Andre de Ruyter remained Eskom chief executive officer and Calib Cassim chief financial officer, but the new board is expected to review their performance as well as that of the entire management.

Saddled with unreliable coal-fired power stations and a mountain of debt, Eskom has struggled to meet electricity demand for more than a decade.

Slow progress frustrating public

President Cyril Ramaphosa has been trying to reform Eskom to make it more efficient since becoming head of state in 2018 but his administration has made slow progress, fuelling public frustration.

Eskom has had vacancies on its board for several years.

Since January 2020, the board had been headed by Malegapuru William Makgoba, who took up the post after the previous chairman resigned following another period of major power cuts.

Eskom's spokesman declined to comment on the board appointments, saying they were a shareholder affair, referring to the government.

Ramaphosa made fresh pledges to tackle the country's power crisis in July, including slashing red tape and buying surplus electricity from private producers.

Finance minister Enoch Godongwana is also expected to outline government plans to deal with Eskom's roughly R400bn debt burden at next month's mid-term budget. He has said there is agreement that the government will have to take on some of Eskom's debt, but the question remains how much of it the state could absorb.



SOURCE

Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world's largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day.

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