Five Candidates Shortlisted for Eskom CEO Role: Who Will Lift the Darkness?

Eskom is in search of a new CEO, with a shortlist of five candidates compiled for the embattled utility’s leadership role. Eskom board chairperson Mpho Makwana announced the development, noting that the search for the new CEO was at an advanced stage. A meeting related to the appointment had formed part of the Eskom agenda later on Monday. The previous CEO, Andre de Ruyter, resigned in December last year, earlier than planned. His departure came after he alleged to have been poisoned in the Eskom office, and after accusing a senior politician of being involved in corruption at Eskom.

Makwana’s announcement comes after Eskom’s interim CEO, Calib Cassim, addressed Monday’s National Demand Side Management Indaba with aspirations to end load shedding as quickly as possible without compromising the grid’s integrity. Makwana stated that Eskom was working towards a position of a 65% Energy Availability Factor by the end of March next year, a marker of plant performance. Cassim’s views were that Eskom had become synonymous with two words, “load shedding and corruption,” resulting in a compulsion to support the 40 000 Eskom staff who come to work daily. While accountability was essential, Cassim highlighted the importance of supporting these staff members through negativity.

Eskom’s wage negotiations began last week, with the National Union of Metalworkers (NUM) demanding a 15% pay increase, the reinstatement of performance bonuses, and a ZAR 7 000 housing allowance. Eskom has been struggling to keep up with demand, which has led to load shedding, adversely affecting the country’s economy. With no end in sight for Eskom’s problems, it remains to be seen what difference a new CEO will make, particularly concerning what the government as Eskom’s sole shareholder deems essential attributes of its leader.