File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - Minister of public enterprises Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday announced the chief executive of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica), Freeman Nomvalo as Eskom's chief restructuring officer.

"I can announce that we have reached an agreement with the Saica that Mr Freeman Nomvalo will be seconded to be appointed at the Eskom chief restructuring officer," Gordhan said during Eskom's annual results presentation.

"He will lead the efforts to establish the CRO office and build its capability that must include the following expertise: corporate finance, debt management, balance sheet optimisation.

"He will report to ministers finance and public enterprises, and the Eskom board. He will have the authority to attend board and exco meetings."

Gordhan said some of Nomvalo's tasks would be to interrogate Eskom's debt and various proposals to resolve its burden, as well as engage investors with the Eskom executive.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced earlier this year that government's continued fiscal support for the debt-ridden power utility was conditional on the appointment of an independent chief reorganisation officer to oversee the plan to separate it into three independent components.

Mboweni last week granted Eskom a R59 billion bailout for the next two years when he tabled his special appropriations bill in Parliament. 

Eskom on Tuesday announced a whopping R20.7 billion net loss after tax for the financial year ended 31 March, up from R2.3 billion the previous year, the biggest financial loss for corporate South Africa in years. 

Eskom chairperson and interim chief executive Jabu Mabuza said the losses for this financial year were not a reflection of the outgoing chief executive Phakamani Hadebe's performance, but rather a combination of various unavoidable factors, describing these as a perfect storm. 

Mabuza said Eskom currently had debt burden exceeding R440 billion and that cash from its operations was not sufficient to service its debt.

African News Agency (ANA)