While most South Africans will be spending the biggest holiday of the year at home with family, incoming CEO Andre de Ruyter is skipping the Christmas day festivities and getting down to business at the power utility.
BusinessDay reports de Ruyter will spend most of the festive period reporting for duty, amid the load shedding crisis and a series of other operational issues.
“I will begin my tenure with a series of visits to Eskom power stations starting on Christmas Day until New Year”, he said.
Andre de Ruyter tasked with turning Eskom around
This will likely please government, which had long wanted him to take up office sooner than expected. At a post cabinet briefing 17 December 2019, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said the Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan had been directed to negotiate an earlier start date for de Ruyter.
“Together with his team, he will be able to deal with concerning issues at Eskom, including governance, financial management and improvement of operations at Eskom.”, Mthembu said.
“We would like the new CEO to start as soon as possible. That is the mandate that cabinet has given to the minister of public enterprises.”
Gordhan announced De Ruyter as the new boss at Eskom in November. He was CEO of packaging group, Nampak.
Energy war room
His controversial appointment follows the resignation of Phakamani Hadebe earlier this year. De Ruyter had initially been expected to take office on 15 January 2015, but concerns were raised given the power emergency.
Mthembu also announced the re-establishment of the energy war room, which will be chaired by Deputy President Davis Mabuza and also include Gordhan and his Finance and Energy counterparts, Tito Mboweni and Gwede Mantashe. The team will deal with any challenges relating to the country’s energy supply at Eskom.
Floyd Shivambu: “The CEO with no credibility”
The EFF’s deputy president Floyd Shivambu was less than impressed by what seemed to be de Ruyter’s show of commitment.
“And do what on Christmas Day? Grand stand whilst your agenda is to undermine Eskom’s generation capacity so IPPs can take charge to make irrational returns at the expense of provision of dependable electricity? What’s the CEO with no credibility record going to do on Christmas Day”, tweeted Shivambu in response to the news.
The red berets have, along with unions, been the most scathing of the new CEO, declaring it irrational, shameful and as part of Gordhan’s plan to undermine Africans.