Whatever fear you have about returning to work on the first Monday of January, we doubt you have a task less enviable than that of Andre de Ruyter. The new Eskom CEO has officially started work today, after completing a number of inductions over the Christmas period.
Who is Andre de Ruyter?
We hope he’s well refreshed and ready for a challenge, because they don’t come much bigger than this. A baptism of fire awaits the new guy, after a round of Stage 2 load shedding consumed Mzansi this weekend.
Given that Andre de Ruyter’s to-do list is piled higher than a cooling tower, we thought it’d be best to push him in the right direction here – we’ve got a few suggestions for the six tasks he should get started on instantly:
Andre de Ruyter – what the Eskom CEO should do first
Implement a “competition” blueprint
At the end of last year, Pravin Gordhan said that the Department of Public Enterprises wanted to put 15 power plants into “three groups”, and make them compete against each other in the field of electricity production. A swift kick-up-the-arse is needed for the firm, and this seems like a good place to start.
Chart a clear path for debt collection
When you’re R450 billion in the hole like Eskom, there’s no time to twiddle thumbs. Andre de Ruyter must start his first official day on the job by going down some debt collection avenues. Rogue municipalities, ex-business partners from the Jacob Zuma era and even a few other countries all owe Eskom some major cash.
Andre de Ruyter should prioritise the Medupi issue
The M-word is fast becoming one of the most-hated in South Africa’s vocabulary. The facility shouldered responsibility for Stage 6 load shedding in December, and a “conveyor belt failure” prompted blackouts across the country this weekend. Andre de Ruyter must address the future of this problem plant sooner rather than later – and hopefully, his plan will involve a few bulldozers.
Establish a review into “the rewarding of failure”
As we were reading articles by candlelight on Sunday, it transpired that Eskom want to spend R2 billion on performance-based bonuses for top executives over the next few years. This is a culture that has to be stamped-out, as far too many millionaires have failed upwards at the expense of the general public.
New Ekom CEO Andre De Ruyter takes the reigns as loadshedding returns. No blackouts expected today but anything is possible. Do reports of R1.8bn in planned performance bonuses seem justified?
Crush the saboteurs
For Eskom to stand a cat in hell’s chance of getting anywhere near a turnaround, everyone has to be on the same page. Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that several instances of load shedding have been caused by workers sabotaging the infrastructure. Andre de Ruyter should look at a plan to drive these elements out of the company, and announce stern penalties for those caught compromising our power supply.
Andre de Ruyter must also look into increasing power generation
With Medupi on its backside and fellow new build Kusile also causing problems, SA has an enormous energy production issue on its hands. Since the start of December, Eskom has had 10 000 MW of power off the grid on a daily basis.
Considering that 9 500 MW is the threshold which prompts warnings for load shedding, this simply isn’t good enough. The new CEO must immediately consider how to put more electricity back into the system – even if that means working with Independent Power Producers (IPPs).