Sec­ond mem­ber lost to Eskom cri­sis task team

The Herald (South Africa) - - News - Lisa Steyn

The task team set up by Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa to ad­vise the govern­ment on how to save cri­sis-hit Eskom has lost an­other mem­ber.

Sy Gour­rah‚ gen­eral man­ager of Ac­tom Power Sys­tems‚ con­firmed her res­ig­na­tion from the sus­tain­abil­ity task team on Thursday.

“Once I saw the scope of the work‚ I had to re­sign‚” she said‚ not­ing that Eskom is one of Ac­tom’s big­gest clients.

Gour­rah said she had re­signed in De­cem­ber.

News of Gour­rah’s res­ig­na­tion comes af­ter Brian Dames’s exit from the task team‚ which was ap­pointed by Ramaphosa in mid-De­cem­ber.

Just days af­ter his ap­point­ment, Dames‚ a for­mer Eskom CEO and head of Pa­trice Mot­sepe’s African Rain­bow En­ergy and Power‚ re­signed from the task team over a “per­ceived” con­flict of in­ter­est.

The task team is down to six mem­bers from eight‚ com­pris­ing An­ton Eber­hard‚ Tsakani Mthombeni‚ Grové Steyn‚ Frans Baleni‚ Mick Davis and Bu­sisiwe Vi­lakazi.

The team will as­sist in fix­ing Eskom‚ which is in a dis­mal state both fi­nan­cially and op­er­a­tionally.

The govern­ment is strug­gling to come up with a turn­around strat­egy for Eskom‚ which has debts of more than R400bn‚ largely guar­an­teed by the state‚ which have emerged as one of the key risks to the coun­try’s los­ing its last in­vest­ment-grade rat­ing.

The power util­ity‚ which pro­vides vir­tu­ally all the coun­try’s en­ergy needs‚ re­sorted to load-shed­ding in De­cem­ber‚ threat­en­ing busi­nesses that de­pend on a se­cure and re­li­able sup­ply of elec­tric­ity.

The risk of load-shed­ding is ex­pected to re­turn as SA in­dus­try starts up next week.

The team has been given a broad man­date that will in­clude as­sess­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of the Eskom busi­ness model and struc­ture.

It will also re­view a turn­around strat­egy sub­mit­ted by the board‚ in­clud­ing “key as­sump­tions‚ im­pact on tar­iffs and in­dus­try‚ and vi­a­bil­ity of pro­posed so­lu­tions on the fu­ture role of Eskom”.

The task team is ex­pected to is­sue its re­port be­fore the end of Jan­uary 2019. –

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