The Eskom board said in a statement yesterday it was pleased to announce that Calib Cassim would remain Eskom’s chief financial officer (CFO) as he continued to contribute to the implementation of Eskom’s turnaround plan.
His current term of employment as CFO comes to an end on December 31, 2023.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of Eskom’s release of its interim results this week in which the power utility reiterated that it was expecting to record an after-tax loss of R23.2 billion by the end of the 2023/24 financial year due to the continued poor generating plant performance, in spite of achieving a profit in the first six months.
It reported a net profit after tax of R1.6bn for the six-month period ended September 30 despite continued financial and operational challenges.
Cassim, who is currently acting as the group chief executive (GCE), will return to the CFO position immediately after the new GCE, Dan Marokane, assumes office on March 31, 2024.
Mteto Nyati, the chairman of the Eskom board, said the retention of Cassim boded well for continuity and change approach that was expected from the Eskom leadership team.
Cassim had 21 years of service with Eskom. His institutional knowledge would be invaluable in discussions around Eskom’s current and future business strategies, he said.
“Calib has done an excellent job in holding the fort. When we announced the appointment of Mr Dan Marokane to the Top 400 senior leaders of Eskom, they gave us two key messages. Firstly, they were delighted that Dan had chosen to re-join Eskom. His appointment was well received. Secondly, they expressed a deep sense of appreciation to Calib for serving the company well. His interim leadership brought sustainability to the organisation. As the Eskom Board, we are counting on his passion for Eskom and are pleased to have retained him as CFO,” said Nyati.
Acting group chief executive, Calib Cassim said, “It is a privilege for me to continue serving as the CFO of Eskom. I am looking forward to continue contributing to the collective efforts of placing Eskom on a path to sustainability through the implementation of our turnaround plans,.
“I want to thank the Board and Shareholder ministry for creating an enabling environment for me to contribute to the turnaround of Eskom. Eskom has exceptional talent that look to us to provide leadership. With Dan joining, we have the best shot at creating the future we want for Eskom,” added Cassim.
He also thanked Martin Buys for acting as the Eskom’s chief financial officer.
“He has done an excellent job and has shown leadership and dedication to our business. He will continue acting until I take over the role. Importantly, I am grateful for the support received from EXCO and the employees,” said Cassim.
Cassim and Eskom’s management have a tough road ahead to shore up the troubled parastatal and keep the lights on.
This as it said in its interim results that plant availability continued to deteriorate, with the energy availability factor (EAF) declining to 55.3% and resulting in more frequent load shedding at higher stages on average than in the previous year.
In total, load shedding was implemented on 183 days for 3 578 hours during the period, which equates to 149.1 days.
Non-payment of municipal debt remained a systemic challenge, with the total municipal arrears debt at R70bn by 30 September, a sharp increase from R58.5bn in March.
Eskom’s debt also remained unsustainably high, with the gross debt securities and borrowings standing at R442.7bn, including the R16bn subordinated government loan.
The government has committed a total of R78bn in debt relief for the 2024 financial year, of which R16bn was received in August, R20bn in October and R5bn in December, with the remainder to be received in the current financial year.
However, Cassim said at the time that the government’s debt relief solution would go a long way towards improving Eskom’s financial sustainability and liquidity in the short to medium term, the impact of which it had already seen with the recent credit upgrades.
“We continue to execute our turnaround plan to improve financial and operational performance in the medium to long term,” Cassim said.
“Our overall focus remains on improving the performance of the generation fleet to reduce the level of load shedding being experienced by the country, and to limit the amount spent on supplementing capacity through the use of the expensive diesel plant.”
Energy experts, including Business Report columnist, Crown Prince Adil Nchabeleng, will be keeping a close eye on Eskom in 2024 and the money budgeted towards sustainable maintenance of its infrastructure as the parastatal battles to keep the lights on.