Political parties have asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently act on Eskom following the resignation of its chief executive, Phakamani Hadebe. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Johannesburg - Political parties have asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently act on Eskom and stabilise the organisation following the resignation of its chief executive, Phakamani Hadebe.

He quit on Friday citing health reasons and the unimaginable demands of the job which he said was taking a toll on him and his family.

Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza said Hadebe would leave at the end of July.

The power utility has to find a new chief executive as it goes through the unbundling process.

Cosatu has opposed any job losses at Eskom after Ramaphosa announced the entity would be split into three entities.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the government needed to fix Eskom and other state-owned entities.

“The minister of finance must be committed and authorised to set a debt ceiling and the public enterprises minister must be willing to privatise non-strategic state-owned entities such as SAA and to restructure Eskom to enable a private sector-led transition to cheaper, cleaner energy sources,” said Maimane.

IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the resignation of Hadebe showed that the company was beset by serious problems.

“This is unfortunate because we had expected that as somebody who had invested energy and time in Eskom he will stay. It is a cause for concern,” said Hlengwa.

He added that the party hoped stability would be restored at the power utility.

The African Christian Democratic Party also said it was surprised at the departure of Hadebe, adding it was a loss to the entity.

ACDP MP Steve Swart said he regretted that Hadebe had to leave because of the pressures of the job.

Hadebe took over early last year after he was initially appointed acting chief executive. Then the Cabinet approved his appointment for a period of five years.

Eskom has debt of more than R420billion and the National Treasury has identified it as a risk to the economy.

Ramaphosa has warned that if Eskom or any entity failed to pay its debt it would cause a cross default in all entities, forcing the government to settle the outstanding debt.

But the government would not be able to pay off all the loans owed by various entities amounting to billions of rands.

The DA asked new speaker Thandi Modise to schedule a debate on the crisis at Eskom.

The new portfolio committee on public enterprises will be constituted in the coming weeks after MPs have gone through all parliamentary processes. The committee oversees the affairs of Eskom.

Political Bureau