Eskom’s new chief executive took charge of the struggling state-owned utility on Monday, embarking on the mammoth task of fixing South Africa’s power deficit and restructuring a debt pile that has crippled the national economy.
Andre de Ruyter, appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in November, will oversee a government plan to split Eskom into three units for generation, transmission and distribution in an attempt to make it more efficient. Saddled with unreliable coal-fired power stations, Eskom has struggled to meet the country’s power demand since 2007, with several bouts of severe power cuts since then.
Outages last year dented economic output and shook investor confidence in Ramaphosa’s administration. The country experienced further outages at the weekend, with Eskom cutting up to 2,000 megawatts (MW) from the national grid on Saturday and Sunday due to a shortage of generating capacity.
In a previous role as CEO of Nampak de Ruyter steered the packaging firm through financial difficulties, and part of his new brief is to restructure Eskom’s R450-billion debt pile.De Ruyter’s predecessor at Eskom, Phakamani Hadebe, stepped down in July, citing health reasons. Sources told Reuters at the time that another reason was that he felt frustrated at being excluded from important decisions affecting the utility.
Eskom said in a statement on Monday that roughly 13,000 megawatts (MW) of its 44,000 MW nominal capacity were offline because of plant breakdowns. It said it didn’t expect load-shedding on Monday, but that the system was “constrained and vulnerable”.
In other news – Prophet Bushiri’s church set on fire after his Pastor rapes congregant in church next to pulpit
The 33-year-old man maintains that the incident was consensual. The Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church building in the Garden Route was set alight, following allegations of rape levelled against its Malawian pastor.
As the SABC, the 33-year-old man is due to appear at the George Magistrate Court after being charged with raping a congregant inside the church. Read more