JOHANNESBURG – Acting Eskom chief executive and chairperson Jabu Mabuza said on Thursday that the struggling power utility was confident that it would have a new chief executive by the end of the month.
Mabuza, who was appointed to his position at the end of July after the resignation of Phakamani Hadebe, told the Joburg Indaba that Eskom was too big not to have a permanent chief executive.
“On July 31, we committed to give the minister of public enterprises three names in descending order of preference. The minister will appoint the candidate,” said Mabuza.
Eskom’s debt has ballooned to R450 billion. National Treasury has granted the utility a R59bn, two-year bailout package.
But Eskom has once again disappointingly incurred a net loss after tax of R20.7bn for the year – a significant increase from the R2.3bn loss in the previous year. Mabuza said Eskom was a cheap supplier, because it built power stations on coalfields and transported the coal via conveyor belt.
However, it had changed that and the industry was surprised “why we are so expensive”.
“My special appeal to suppliers and customers is that the higher cost of coal should not be among Eskom’s challenges,” he said. “We have many challenges, the majority of which are of our own making. It is important we put the interest of our country first, ahead of the company’s profits.”
Mabuza said Eskom’s ongoing problems and its debt have hugely impacted the country’s economic growth. He said an industry-wide collaboration needed to be undertaken to co-create an energy future for the country.