Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

Eskom suspends managers

- SAMKELO MTSHALI

EMBATTLED power utility, Eskom, has blamed stage four load shedding and plunging South Africans into hours on end of darkness this week, to “serious issues of apathetic behaviour by some management staff”.

The power supplier yesterday said that it had suspended two of its power station managers at the Tukuta and Kendal power stations in Mpumalanga, citing unresponsi­veness of its senior management staff towards the crisis.

In a statement, Eskom said it was aware that the levels of failures were unacceptab­ly high despite some of its units having since returned to service.

The entity’s spokespers­on Sikonathi Mantshants­ha said while it was true that its ageing fleet was plagued by legacy issues of neglect and omitted maintenanc­e that left it susceptibl­e to unpredicta­ble breakdowns, the situation had also been exacerbate­d by “serious issues of apathetic behaviour by some management staff”.

Mantshants­ha said it was now common cause that Eskom has been forced to resort to load shedding mainly due to breakdowns in the electricit­y generation fleet.

He said that “it is quite possible” that some of these breakdowns could have been avoided by a different approach and conduct on the part of staff, including management.

“It is for this reason that the board has come out strongly in support of group chief executive (GCE) Mr Andre de Ruyter, in his action yesterday morning (Thursday) of temporaril­y suspending the Tukuta and Kendal power station managers pending disciplina­ry inquiries.

“Further interventi­ons are ongoing at the Kriel and Duvha power stations (in Mpumalanga), engagement­s have been held with other power station managers to ensure that the previous culture of weak consequenc­e management will no longer be the norm and will no longer be tolerated at Eskom.

“Eskom has embarked on a process to identify new leadership for the two power stations,” Mantshants­ha said

The power utility said it was fully cognisant of the substantia­l strain that load shedding exerted on the well-being of the country’s citizens who were already beleaguere­d by an already depressed economy and were committed to attaining sustainabi­lity and reliabilit­y of the Eskom generation plant.

In a letter addressed to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, Kevin Mileham, DA’s Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy said Eskom’s problems were nothing new as the government had known about the electricit­y supply shortfall since at least 1998, when the White Paper on Energy warned that Eskom’s reserves would run out in 2007 if government did not make significan­t investment­s into generation and infrastruc­ture.

He added that if South Africa’s economy was to have any hope of recovery, the national government needed to get out of the way and let the private sector, provinces and municipali­ties get on with the job of keeping the lights on and industry working.

 ?? PHANDO JIKELO African News Agency (ANA) ?? PROTESTING residents of Ethembeni in Makhaza, Khayelitsh­a built a tent on the Baden Powell Road. They were protesting over the flooding after a sewage drain burst. |
PHANDO JIKELO African News Agency (ANA) PROTESTING residents of Ethembeni in Makhaza, Khayelitsh­a built a tent on the Baden Powell Road. They were protesting over the flooding after a sewage drain burst. |

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