Business Leadership SA has congratulated Andre de Ruyter on being appointed as CEO of Eskom. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced this afternoon that De Ruyter, who is currently CEO of Nampak, would take over from Phakamani Hadebe who left Eskom earlier this year.

“As organised business, we see your appointment as a vital step towards stabilising the outlook for energy availability in Africa’s largest electricity company after more than a decade of instability in the institution,” BLSA said to De Ruyter.

BLSA said through De Ruyter’s experience and expertise, it anticipates that he will quickly grasp the operational and financial issues facing Eskom and gain the respect and trust of the most important people within Eskom in his journey towards energy stabilisation. “Their support will be incredibly valuable in the future restructuring of the entity,” the letter said.

Financial stability is as urgent a crisis as the operational challenges, BLSA said, pledging their support through the deployment of expertise and resources as well as to act as a sounding board. De Ruyter will need to work productively with government as shareholder and custodian of the wider economy, the letter said.

“Trust will ultimately come from transparency with business and tariff payers, and the millions of South Africans whose lives have been changed over the past couple of decades by what has certainly been a successful electrification programme, said

“We need honest conversations on the timelines with which to expect load-shedding in the coming years, which must be understood as some of the pain we have to endure because of past failings.” On Eskom’s operational and debt restructuring, BLSA advised that the process not be shrouded in secrecy “as this serves to raise the anxieties of stakeholders about the long-term future of one of the country’s most important institutions”.

BLSA finally lauded De Ruyter for undertaking “this most important of challenges”, one that at its core poses a question about what future we want for the country as a whole. “Turning this ship around with your executive team and board is possible, and as business we support this endeavour,” it concluded.