Johannesburg – The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have both welcomed the resignation of Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter, who announced his resignation on Wednesday following weeks of stage five load shedding.
De Ruyter, whose record of keeping the lights on has been dubbed the worst since the advent of democracy, has been widely welcomed by trade unions, political parties, civil society, and ordinary citizens at large.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said De Ruyter’s resignation was not surprising and to be expected as his performance left nothing to be desired and plunged the country into a deep crisis.
"Load shedding has had a crippling impact on the livelihoods of businesses and communities across South Africa. The challenges at the utility proved to be too challenging to handle," Pamla said.
Pamla said De Ruyter’s resignation was too late and not good enough, because the country needs answers from relevant political principals who contributed to this collapse of the power utility.
"Minister Pravin Gordhan and Gwede Mantashe need to provide a solid and coherent political intervention. They have so far offered nothing but generic platitudes, and this is unsuitable," the federation said.
On the other hand, NUM said the resignation of De Ruyter was "an early Christmas gift" for South Africans who have had to endure daily schedules of load shedding.
NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said they are hopeful the government will not repeat the same mistake of appointing a CEO and COO without the right skills to run Eskom.
"NUM feels vindicated and exonerated and views this resignation as an early Christmas gift to South Africans, who have had to brace themselves daily to endure load shedding.
“We warmly welcome De Ruyter’s long-overdue resignation ... There has never been any hope, and there has never been any measurable strategy to overcome load shedding and measures to improve the daily deteriorating Electricity Availability Factor (EAF)," Mammburu said.
Former Eskom COO Matshela Koko told “The Star” that it was the new board that had convinced De Ruyter to resign after its appointment in September.
"It is no coincidence that Andre De Ruyter has resigned after former Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer indicated that he will be retiring in April next year.
“This must have been the work of the new board, who have evaluated the performance of the CEO. No board would allow a performing CEO to resign in the middle of stage five load shedding. My only hope is that this is the beginning of a new era for Eskom," Koko said.