Johannesburg - The news that Eskom chief executive Brian Dames will step down at the end of March was widely met with regret on Thursday.
“Mr Dames steered the company meticulously, with integrity. Despite the many challenges, he managed to keep the company stable,” Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba's office said in a statement.
“The minister commends him for putting the foundation of the build programme in place, where the three power stations, Medupi, Kusile, and Ingula are already at advanced stages of construction.”
SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) chief executive Neren Rau noted Dames's resignation with regret.
“Under the leadership of Brian, Eskom has shown noteworthy dedication to, and has been successful in keeping the lights on, and to ensuring that efficiencies are introduced at all levels of society, for which he must be commended,” he said.
Rau praised Dames for encouraging energy efficiency and reducing South Africa's carbon footprint.
Trade union Solidarity described Dames's resignation as a setback for Eskom, as he had been appointed to help resolve South Africa's electricity supply crisis.
“Dames displayed excellent leadership at a remarkably tough time and he should receive credit for that,” said Deon Reyneke, head of Solidarity's metal, engineering and electrical industry division.
Earlier in the day, Eskom board chairman Zola Tsotsi said Dames would step down on March 31.
“During this time, the Eskom board and Mr Dames will work together to ensure a smooth transition to a new chief executive.”
The process to find a successor was well underway and was expected to be timeously concluded, Tsotsi said.
Dames worked for Eskom for 26 years and was appointed chief executive on July 1, 2010.
Reflecting on his time at Eskom, Dames said he believed the power utility had improved people's lives.
“My tenure at Eskom has given me an opportunity to become part of the solution that our country needs to succeed.” - Sapa