The debates and spats about the leadership at Eskom are a sideshow to the real issue, which according to the board of Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) is the urgent need for a breakthrough set of restructuring plans government needs to announce in respect of the energy utility.
These plans must include structural, operational and financial changes that will reduce costs, create sustainable debt levels and make Eskom a secure and viable enterprise that can sustainably provide energy at the lowest possible cost.
The stability of Eskom should be above politicking and personal attacks. What Eskom needs is a clear plan coupled with strong leadership both at the executive and board level.
There is clear need to recognize that the state of Eskom is dire and we call for tough decisions to be made to rescue it and the country along with it. We are under no illusion that this will take some pain to do.
BLSA stands firmly behind the appointment of Jabu Mabuza as Eskom’s interim Group Chief Executive as announced by the Department of Public Enterprises this week.
We believe that Mabuza has all the requisite qualities and experience to lead Eskom while the utility searches for a permanent replacement to outgoing CEO Phakamani Hadebe.
To this effect, BLSA also welcomes the appointment of SAICA chief executive Freeman Nomvalo as Eskom Chief Restructuring Officer, who will be overseeing the unbundling of the debt-laden power utility into three entities – generation, distribution, and transmission.
We acknowledge his mammoth task but more importantly, implore him to act with diligence, speed, and decisiveness.
BLSA calls on the board of Eskom to expedite the search and appointment of a permanent CEO within the stipulated period. This, BLSA believes will help in strengthening the slow but definite recovery that has begun at Eskom.
We also call on all stakeholders including the shareholder, labour, staff, and customers to support this national asset in regaining its strong status, which inevitably will impact positively on energy security, foreign investment, and jobs that we desperately need.