Cabinet has mandated public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan to engage the newly appointed Eskom chief executive, André de Ruyter, on the possibility on commencing in the role earlier than anticipated.
De Ruyter, who was last month announced as the power utility’s new CEO, was expected to begin his tenure on 15 January.
However, addressing journalists during a post-cabinet briefing on Tuesday, minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu said Gordhan was on 13 December mandated by cabinet to negotiate an earlier start date with the incoming CEO.
“Cabinet fully supports all efforts meant to ensure electricity supply certainty in our country,” he said.
Mthembu said De Ruyter, together with his management team, will immediately deal with issues of governance, lack of financial management as well as stabilise Eskom operations.
Government will encourage De Ruyter to work with any other entity that can contribute to the stabilisation and supply of reliable power.
“We don’t think that we must tie his hands before he even resumes his work. Let the incoming CEO come in, appraise himself of who is who in the … electricity supply (industry) and who he can work with to ensure that there is electricity supply certainty in our country,” said Mthembu.
The minister said cabinet is confident that De Ruyter will do all in his power to save the country from load shedding and the possibility of a total shutdown of the power grid.
During the briefing, the minister also announced that deputy President David Mabuza will convene a resuscitated energy “war room” that comprises the ministers of finance, minerals & energy and public enterprises.
“The team will deal with any challenges to our energy supply in the country,” he said.
Renewables, Mthembu said, will play a key role in the energy supply to complement the efforts of Eskom. — SANews