Gungubele says Eskom board ‘really getting deep into issues’ as SA battles load shedding

November 19, 2022 0 By Cypher9ja

Minister in Presidency Mondli Gungubele has urged the public to give Eskom’s new board time as the country battles with constant load shedding.

Speaking during a media briefing on Friday, Gungubele said Cabinet continues to engage with the Eskom board in order to address the problems at the power utility.

“There are ongoing concerns in Cabinet, even if there is no specific item, these are issues that are spoken to the chairperson of newly established board, and he told me that they are really getting deep into issues. They hope at some stage, when that time comes, to give us an idea what path is supposed to be followed,” the minister said.

“Let’s give them some space… they have got track record of having turning things round where they come from, in particular the chairperson and some of them in their individual capacity.

ALSO READ: ‘Give Eskom board time and space to do its job,’ Ramaphosa urges

“[I was told that] this weekend, they will be looking at the business operations approach on the matter. Very soon they will actually give an idea on where to take this thing.”

In September, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that Mpho Makwana would take over as the new chairperson of Eskom’s 13-member board.

Makwana previously first served as a non-executive director of Eskom between 2002 and 2011.

Meanwhile, Gungubele indicated government was confident in the current board, saying it had the necessary skills to fix Eskom.

“They hope to find a way of managing until an ultimate solution [is found]. We are very comfortable, we have got a skilled board and they have got eyes to actually assess whether the capacity we have can take us anywhere and we do continue to keep this as an ongoing worrying matter.”

Load shedding

The country is currently on Stage 4 load shedding and will remain in place until further notice since Eskom is facing an increase in unplanned breakdowns.

The power utility also does not have enough money to spend on diesel for generating emergency reserves, having already spent nearly R11.2 billion on the liquid fuel  so far this year.

As of 19 November, South Africa has experiencing more than 150 days load shedding with prolonged periods of blackouts being anticipated in the future.

READ MORE: ‘2022 most intensive load shedding year to date’ – CSIR

Eskom chief operating officer (COO) Jan Oberholzer on Tuesday revealed that the power utility will start embarking on several capital investment and major repair projects, which carry significant risks for the country’s generation capacity.

The projects are expected to pull up to 2,300MW of generating capacity from the system, and as a result the public should anticipate increased load shedding until the problems are resolved over the next six to 12 months.

Eskom, in September, launched three power purchase programmes that will see it procuring 1 000 megawatts (MW) of power for the national grid on an expedited basis.