by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – ESKOM, South Africa’s power utility has cut its workforce by 2 000 this year in an effort to control costs and service its multibillion rand debt.
In addition, management at the South African power utility will not receive increases or bonuses this year.
André de Ruyter, the Eskom Chief Executive Officer, confirmed the measures.
“We’ve already over the past ten months said goodbye to 2000 employees,” De Ruyter said.
He was addressing this week’s opening session of Digital Africa Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa.
“So we are making some progress. There’s more to come. And that’s of course without resorting to forced retrenchments.”
De Ruyter said the non-payment of bonuses was to address legacy of capture and corruption and turning around the morale of local people
“You can imagine that morale is low, people are feeling quite despondent. We have taken a decision not to give any increases to management this year. Also, in order to contain our costs, there will be no bonuses.”
De Ruyter hinted at the state partly liable for snail pace reforms at Eskom.
“And that slows down the turnaround of Eskom quite significantly,” he said.
The executive believes management had done satisfactorily under the circumstances.
“But something as simple as registering a subsidiary, which from the private sector would take maybe a week, takes much longer in the state-owned sector.”
De Ruyter, who has been in the position for ten months, has set a target of April and September 2021 to obtain “operational stability.”
He meanwhile said Eskom’s just energy transition (JET) project office would navigate the utility’s move away from coal in a way that did not “jeopardise” livelihoods.
“I think moving away from a model that’s been around for 97 years, which is how long Eskom has been in existence, to something that is different, is always regarded as potentially threatening by a variety of stakeholders,” he said.
– CAJ News