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By Citizen Reporter


Busa rejects calls for Eskom’s management to step down over load shedding

Busa says Eskom's leadership has been clear on their challenges, and the state and age of their power plants.

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) has rejected calls for Eskom chief executive officer (CEO) André de Ruyter and the parastatal’s board to step down over the country’s load shedding crisis, saying it “stands with the Eskom leadership in these difficult times” .

While the Black Business Council (BBC) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have called for heads to roll at Eskom, Busa says it has long lamented the dire economic impact of rolling power outages, but it doesn’t believe that changing Eskom’s management in the middle of a crisis is the right solution.

Busa CEO Cas Coovadia on Tuesday said the challenges faced by Eskom were not only due to generation capacity shortages, but years of irreversible damage caused by state capture and corruption at the utility, which resulted in the critically undermaintained power plants. 

“It does not help to exacerbate the ongoing operational crisis by creating a leadership and governance crisis at Eskom,” Coovadia said in a statement.

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“We are of the view this leadership has taken the tough decisions, shown remarkable openness and transparency and, critically, developed a progressive future-looking plan that will see the diversification and decarbonisation of the electricity supply system in South Africa.”

‘Worsening supply crisis’

Coovadia said Eskom’s leadership has been clear on their challenges, and the state and age of their power plants.

He said maintenance alone would not address the “worsening supply crisis” and new capacity should urgently be added to the national grid to reduce the occurrence of load shedding.

“Busa maintains that the fastest, least cost and low carbon path to ensure affordable and reliable energy is through the accelerated implementation of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) guided Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme [REIPPP] programme. Government must urgently issue further RFP for much higher allocations of capacity.

“Busa further urges emergency procurement of any capacity that can supply immediate capacity to the grid, such as through cogeneration and other technologies that participated in the previous short-term power producer programme.”

Busa called for even greater transparency on the challenges at Eskom, and urged the board and leadership to err on the side of more information to the public than less.

The organisation also called on President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Cabinet to demonstrate decisiveness in this crisis by showing the nation that government was doing everything in its power to address load shedding.

‘I do not intend to resign’

Speaking at a media briefing on Tuesday, De Ruyter said he would not voluntarily resign from the power utility.

He said it was better to allow for the continuation of the current management to deal with the crisis.

“We serve at the discretion and pleasure of the board. If the board sees it appropriate for me to resign, then that is their decision to make. We have had no conversations in this regard so far. I do not intend to resign of my own accord,” De Ruyter said.

He added: “You can flog a dead horse or even go one step further and change the jockey on the dead horse but that will not solve the problem.”

De Ruyter also announced that stage 3 would be implemented from 5am on Wednesday until Friday at 5am.

This will be followed by stage 2 load shedding, which is expected to last until 5am on Saturday.

Compiled by  Thapelo Lekabe. Additional reporting by Vhahangwele Nemakonde

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