New Eskom CEO – a legacy executive will not save Eskom

The DA rejects the decision taken by Eskom to confirm the appointment of Dan Marokane, the former CEO of embattled sugar producer Tongaat Hulett, as the new CEO of Eskom. As the former Head of Group Capital at Eskom, Marokane is a legacy executive and as such he will not bring anything different to salvage what is left of an already collapsing entity.

After the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, spent almost a year stalling the process of appointing a new CEO for Eskom, the best that the ANC government could muster is to recycle an old Eskom executive to retain the status quo and keep the nation firmly in the grips of loadshedding.

What Eskom needed as a new CEO was a rank outsider, someone with tried and tested technical and engineering expertise to run aging power stations while at the same time, ramping up capacity to expand generation from renewable energy sources.

We hold the view that Marokane’s appointment does not inspire confidence at all. If anything, it will only perpetuate the culture of impunity that currently exists at the entity as well as Eskom’s worsening financial position, after it incurred a net loss after tax of R23,9 billion for the 2022/2023 financial year.

Having been a former head of group capital for Eskom, at some point in his professional career, Marokane carries part of the blame for the poor financial position that the entity finds itself in.

Should Marokane’s turnaround plan for Eskom, assuming he has one, not include the following 5 urgent and pressing issues, then Marokane should do himself and the country a favour and decline the offer:

  1. Improving the generation capacity at Eskom’s struggling plants and increasing their Energy Availability Factor to reduce load-shedding;
  2. Accelerating the Eskom unbundling process;
  3. Prioritising the connection of renewable energy projects to the grid;
  4. Getting the Koeberg life extension project back on track; and
  5. Fixing Eskom’s poor financial position.

Marokane’s appointment as the new CEO of Eskom confirms that the ANC has learnt nothing from the previous disastrous appointments that they have made at Eskom.

Instead of bringing in technocrats with the requisite technical expertise to manage the country’s ailing SOEs, the ANC has continued with its inward looking and exclusionary policy of cadre deployment.

If South Africa is really looking for a way out of the current loadshedding crisis, then Dan Marokane is definitely not the individual to show it the way out.

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