Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
28 Nov 2019
4:09 pm

Mabuza wants to make Eskom ‘profitable, transparent, agile’

Citizen Reporter

This may be a difficult task, as the struggling utility is hurtling towards a loss of R20 billion this year.

Eskom's Jabu Mabuza. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi / African News Agency / ANA

“The ultimate goal is to make Eskom a profitable, transparent, agile and a top-forming organisation which is financially independent,” Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza said at the struggling utility’s interim results presentation.

How this will be achieved is unclear. At the same briefing, Mabuza said that Eskom is expecting a loss of R20 billion this year.

Eskom CFO Caleb Cassim also spoke at the briefing, justifying the latest government bailouts the utility has received.

“We are unable to service debt,” he said, adding that this “highlights why it was necessary for government to support us.”

Or, as Mabuza put it: “We faced the reality that the organisation needs to borrow to service debt. Moody’s has recently downgraded our debt”.

Eskom’s total generation cost is up 18% to R37 billion, he added.

The state-owned power producer’s total debt sits at roughly R450 billion.

READ MORE: Fixing Eskom will be harder than changing a tyre – Gordhan

It also struggles with debt collection, and is owed R25 billion by SA’s municipalities alone.

At the briefing, Mabuza addressed criticism of the utility’s choice of new CEO Andre De Ruyter, who replaces Mabuza as acting CEO following the departure of Phakamani Hadebe.

“We are satisfied that Andre is the man for the now. I am looking forward to welcoming Andre and handing over the baton to him,” he said.

He called on South Africans to give De Ruyter “the space and time” to turn Eskom around.

“The decision to appoint Andre de Ruyter was a thorough process. The so-called surprise of the appointment is because there was no leak of the list. De Ruyter is the most suitable, able, available South African to take on this job.”

Mabuza also highlighted what he sees as Eskom’s victories.

These include “progress” being made at power stations Medupi and Kusile, an end to the coal shortage that has been one of the utility’s problems, and the “healthier” net profit in the second half of 2019, in which the utility managed to double their net profit to R1.3 billion.

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