Eskom is on the up, says chief executive

Dan Marokane left Eskom. Picture: Jennifer Bruce

Dan Marokane left Eskom. Picture: Jennifer Bruce

Published Jun 15, 2024


Cape Town - Reflecting on his first 100 days in office, Eskom's group chief executive (GCE) Dan Marokane said the goal is to create a “competitive and suitable organisation”.

Marokane on Friday detailed at a press conference at Megawatt Park in Sunninghill, Sandton, the difficulties Eskom encountered and how it is making progress in turning the company around.

“There is an opportunity for us to really place Eskom in a position where it continues to play a leading role as far as electricity supply is concerned in the country,” he said.

When Marokane returned to Eskom he was asked to prioritise several key areas in the first 100 days.

This included assessing the Generation Operational Recovery Plan, reviewing Eskom's unbundling plans and engaging with internal and external stakeholders.

Now, the generation performance has shown a steep change, with almost 80 days of no load shedding to date and unplanned outages consistently being around 12GW, which is below the winter planning assumption of 15.5GW.

This improved performance has also helped Eskom's finances, resulting in savings of nearly R4 billion in the current fiscal year.

“Eskom's executives and employees have helped deliver these significant results to date, and we have a good base to build on. I have also noticed a significant improvement in morale,” Marokane said.

In the area of the unbundling of the business, the plans are on track to operationalise the National Transmission Company of South Africa on July 1, following the fulfilment of the suspensive conditions at the end of March.

The GCE's stakeholder engagement has also seen Marokane address over 10 000 employees in person – this is one quarter of the entire workforce – as well as engage over 200 stakeholders in the areas of government.

Marokane described the company's morale as excellent and said Eskom staff have embraced the company's attempt at a turnaround.

Eskom's employee figures are at 40 000 after more people had to be hired to fill the gaps in critical areas.

“We are putting the building blocks in place to rebuild trust and credibility in Eskom through transparent performance, with the intent to re-affirm the company as worthy of further future investment as we undertake our strategic initiatives,” Marokane said.

However, technical and executive skill flight was one of the problems Marokane faced when he took the reins.

“We needed to take stock and think of how to re-organise ourselves to enable us to focus on these two aspects,” he said. Marokane said finding a solution to municipal debt is also key area for Eskom.

Meanwhile, South Africa has been without load shedding for 79 days, according to Marokane, but he said it's still too early to declare that the country is completely without it.

“Load shedding remains a risk. We are not yet at a point where we can comfortably say it's behind us,” he said.

In addition to coping with theft and damage to its equipment, the power utility has also been facing attacks on Eskom staff in communities.

“It is heartbreaking when we are unable to serve our customers because of the safety of our employees, and it's more heartbreaking when our employees are injured,” Marokane said.

“We appeal to communities to work with us so we can improve service.”

Eskom will over the next 36 months pursue its strategy across several key initiatives to increasing of the Energy Availability Factor to 70% in the next 12 to 36 months and returning more than 2.5GW in capacity to the grid by March 2025, among others.

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