President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government won’t cut jobs at state power utility Eskom as it divides the company into three separate businesses.
Ramaphosa announced the plan to divide the company into generation, transmission and distribution units in February, and there was an immediate backlash from labour unions who are concerned that the plan could lead to job losses. Eskom has 47 000 workers, a figure the World Bank has said is 66% too high, and debt in excess of R430-billion.
“What we will need to do going forward is to strengthen Eskom,” Ramaphosa said in an interview with Newzroom Afrika, a Johannesburg-based television station that started broadcasting on Thursday. “As as the restructuring job unfolds, no we don’t see the loss of jobs.”
Eskom has been described by Goldman Sachs as the biggest threat to the South African economy and isn’t generating sufficient cash to meet its maintenance costs, resulting in frequent power cuts so far this year. The government agreed to give it a record R69-billion bailout in February.
The company won’t cut power to consumers this winter, Ramaphosa said. — Reported by Antony Sguazzin, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP