JOHANNESBURG - The Minerals Council South Africa on Tuesday applauded the establishment of an engineering task team to assess challenges at state utility Eskom’s power stations.

Cash strapped Eskom has struggled to meet electricity demand and was forced for several days last month to implement rolling blackouts to avoid overwhelming the national grid. 

After a meeting of stakeholders to discuss the utility's problems, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan accepted an offer to establish an expert team to help address them and a list of 18 engineers assembled by the Minerals Council and the Energy Intensive User Group of Southern Africa was submitted to him.

Gordhan also received nominations from the Engineering Council of South Africa and South Africa's foremost engineering universities.

"Subsequently, a small coordinating team has been established under the leadership of Dr Tsakani Mthombeni and Mr Ian Morison, who has been seconded by Anglo American," the Minerals Council said on Tuesday.

It said the group, which would also include industry and Minerals Council representatives, would be responsible for planning and monitoring the process over the next few months.

Over the coming weeks, the task team will conduct technical reviews at some of Eskom’s power stations.

"This is a tangible demonstration of leadership and a manifestation of real commitment to the future welfare of our country and our industry at a time when South Africa needs it most," Minerals Council chief Roger Baxter said.

African News Agency (ANA)