Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan during the debate on the state-of-the-nation address in the National Assembly. Photo: Supplied by GCIS.

PARLIAMENT - Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and the Eskom board will bring in engineers to do an independent audit of South Africa's power stations to get to the bottom of failures which have seen the introduction of countrywide load shedding, members of Parliament heard on Tuesday.

Speaking during a joint sitting of Parliament during the debate on the State of the Nation address, Gordhan conceded the failures of South Africa's two newest coal-fired power stations which were built to rescue the country from an energy supply shortage.

"Fundamentally, the first point we need to tell the public...is that Medupe and Kusile were badly designed and badly constructed and are not performing at optimum levels," Gordhan told MPs.

"I had various interactions today and we're beginning to see where the problems are...but we've also taken new initiatives where the board and myself have agreed we're going to bring in external power station engineers, have an independent audit of exactly what is going on so that we put Eskom back on track...."

Gordhan also lashed out at critics of President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that Eskom will be unbundled, denying that this meant the power utility would be privatised. 

In his Sona on February 7, Ramaphosa said cash-strapped Eskom would be divided into Generation, Transmission and Distribution entities as part of a new business model to help turn it around.

He acknowledged Eskom was in crisis and posed a significant risk to the South African economy, requiring bold decisions that would not affect the country's sovereign credit rating. Ramaphosa also said Eskom would need more revenue through an affordable tariff increase.

African News Agency (ANA)