Phakamani Hadebe, the Eskom Group Chief Executive, at the Eskom's 2018/19 interim results announcement. Picture:Nokuthula Mbatha/AfricanNewsAgency/ANA
Johannesburg - Eskom's move to cut jobs and to start with top executives has been commended, but experts have warned that more heads are on the block as the power utility works towards financial recovery.

At the beginning of the week, Eskom announced that it had concluded its section 189 processes for its executive structure, saying it had cut the number of F band (highest earners) positions from 21 to nine.

“This was not an easy process, and I appreciate the patience and support of all those involved as we worked to conclude matters as efficiently as possible. We have managed to reduce the number of F band positions from a total of 21 to nine by way of regrading or combining roles. The new structure, along with our strategy, sets us on a path towards stability,” said group chief executive Phakamani Hadebe.

He said the regrading or combining of executives' roles came after “an extensive consultation with its executive management that started on November 7 with the approval of a new executive structure by the board”, adding that now that the process had been finalised, it had set a new course for the utility to be “cost-effective, efficient and sustainable”.

Energy expert Ted Blom on Wednesday said that just because Eskom had started with top executives did not mean that workers on the ground were safe.

“These are the first 10 steps of the many required to get Eskom to recovery mode and set for the future. These are a very bold first 10 steps because they started at the top, and it is very difficult to fire your colleagues.

“I think it is a move in the right direction, a really bold move. However, this is a year too late. They should have done this a year ago,” Blom said.

He said Eskom had a massive wage bill and that the executives affected cost Eskom R50 million a year.

“The next step is for Eskom to cut the E band managers from 600 to 40,” Blom said.

Eskom said in a statement that the group executives for the generation, distribution, transmission and group capital now reflect full accountability for profit and loss within each of the core businesses, which was a key strategic imperative to drive the utility's return to profitability.

@smashaba

The Star