While the government has been criticised for selecting a white executive as Eskom CEO, a new report from the Sunday Times states that 27 black executives were offered the position first.
They all declined.
The report stated that Eskom created a list of the executives it would like for the role of CEO and hired a recruitment agency to contact them.
“All of them said no. A lot of black executives don’t want anything to do with state-owned entities,” a government source told the newspaper.
This was due to the expected political interference and the fact that state-owned enterprises have “ruined a lot of careers and expectations”.
This list reportedly included Eskom board members Nelisiwe Magubane and Sifiso Dabengwa.
Following the lack of interest from these executives, it was announced that Nampak CEO Andre de Ruyter would take the position at the head of Eskom.
The National Union of Mineworkers and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa immediately criticised De Ruyter’s appointment as a setback to the country’s racial-transformation agenda.
The EFF added to this, stating it was racist and a deliberate attempt to diminish the role Africans play in the economy.
De Ruyter, however, is reported to have performed well in Eskom interviews and the assessment process.
Additionally, he prepared a presentation on an unbundling process for Eskom and how to restructure its debt, stated the report.
Eskom is in a bad way as a company, following years of corruption and mismanagement at the state-owned enterprise.
The company has over R450 billion in debt and is struggling with low productivity, poor flexibility, no competition, and corruption which is milking the company’s coffers dry.
Energy expert Ted Blom said the following needs to take place to fix Eskom:
Significantly reduce the workforce.
Aggressively address mismanagement and corruption.
Ensure Eskom pays the lowest possible price for coal, equipment, and services.
Remove all regulatory restraints which stop small scale power generation plants from feeding into the grid.
Privatise parts of Eskom.
Invest significantly in renewable energy.