South Africa to overhaul power utility Eskom’s board amid record outages

PUBLISHED: Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:59:36 GMT
Bhargav Acharya
Reuters
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An Eskom sign stands outside the headquarters for Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., South Africas state-owned electricity utility at Megawatt Park in Sandton, near Johannesburg, South Africa, on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. A plan to reform state-owned power company Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. and bring South Africa and its economy out of the dark is starting to show results, according to Chief Executive Officer Brian Molefe. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sept 27 (Reuters) – The South African government will make changes to state power utility Eskom’s board of directors, the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) said on Tuesday, after electricity outages reached record levels this year.

Saddled with unreliable coal-fired power stations and a mountain of debt, Eskom has struggled to meet electricity demand for more than a decade, constraining economic growth in Africa’s most industrialised nation.

“On Tuesday, the Minister (Pravin Gordhan) informed the board that a review has been finalised and that the Board will soon be reconstituted and restructured,” the department said in a statement.

The members of the board will be informed of the outcome of the process and the government will soon deliberate on the restructuring, it said.

Eskom did not immediately comment on the DPE statement.

It was not clear whether Eskom’s board would be entirely replaced or whether some board members would keep their positions in the planned shake-up.

It is currently headed by chairman Malegapuru William Makgoba, who took up the post in January 2020 after the previous chairman resigned after another period of major power cuts.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government has been trying to reform the struggling company to make it more efficient, but progress has been slow.

This year the most electricity has been shed from the national grid to date, fuelling public frustration and leading to calls for heads to roll.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Winning)

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