Please find attached a soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.
The new Eskom Board announced by the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, has been overshadowed by the deployment of an ANC cadre, Mr Bheki Ntshalintshali, who brings no value to Eskom.
Mr Bheki Ntshalintshali’appointment is nothing more than a cheap attempt to fulfill the ANC’s cadre deployment quota in a state owned enterprise. Ntshalintshali’s has simply been given a soft landing after he was rejected by Cosatu delegates.
For the rest of the Board, the jury is still out. Although an attempt was made to bring some individuals with a heavy engineering background, the government did not go far enough – and some are simply recycled executives with no engineering experience
Eskom’s new Board has been appointed into a perfect storm and they need to provide immediate answers to what is essentially one the worst loadshedding episodes that the country has ever gone through. This requires engineering expertise of the highest order.
The Board could have been freed up to operate in an unencumbered fashion had Ramaphosa’s ANC government listened to the DA’s call for a ring-fenced State of Disaster to be declared around Eskom. This would have empowered them to make decisions without the constraints of existing red tape, cadre deployment and more – all of which is responsible in no small way for the critical situation the utility is in.
The Board’s first order of business is simple – they need to bring Eskom’s power plant maintenance programme back on track, secure short term supply of electricity and end loadshedding.
For this new Board to be effective in accomplishing this objective, it is important that that political interference from the ANC government is kept at bay and board members are allowed to work with Eskom executives and engineers to stabilize the grid.
In order to inspire confidence and obtain public support to what is easily a colossal challenge before them, the new Board should, in the next few days, make a public address on how they intend to address generation issues at struggling power stations and the corresponding electricity supply constraints. This is the least that they can do to assure a nation that is on edge, living in constant fear that the grid can collapse anytime. The time for secrecy, com and and control and obfuscation is over.
The DA expects the new Board to double Eskom’s efforts to procure power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and accelerate the opening up of Eskom land for investment by IPPs – this while it fixes what is broken.
The DA stands and willing to cautiously provide support the new Eskom Board in this national effort to fix our electricity supply challenges and end loadshedding. But this will only work if the Board is willing to play open cards with South Africans and are clear on what needs to be done to secure the country’s energy security.