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The Erosion of Eskom’s Most Valuable Assets

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The Erosion of Eskom's Most Valuable Assets

The Erosion of Eskom’s Most Valuable Assets: Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned power utility, has faced a significant dilemma over the past decade, characterized by the loss of skilled engineers. Several factors, including corruption, affirmative action, black economic empowerment (BEE), and political pressures, have contributed to this issue.

Corruption and Political Interference

During the presidency of Jacob Zuma, Eskom became a focal point for corruption and political patronage within the ruling African National Congress (ANC). This trend continued even after Cyril Ramaphosa took office as president.

Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter pointed out that corruption was deeply entrenched within Eskom and had support at the highest levels of the ruling party and the government.

Former Mpumalanga premier and ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member Mathews Phosa highlighted direct links between corruption at Eskom and ANC ministers and premiers.

Opposition and Fear of Retaliation

To sustain this corrupt system, opposition to decisions that benefited politically connected individuals was suppressed. Those who challenged this status quo faced severe consequences.

Skilled professionals and engineers, including Steve Lennon and Brian Dames, left Eskom, often due to suspensions or retrenchments that were unwarranted.

As fear of being targeted spread, it led to a climate of inaction, where employees refrained from taking initiatives or creative decisions.

Rule by Fear

Former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko was notorious for holding unsigned letters of resignation from senior staff. Adding his signature was all it took to remove them from their positions.

This atmosphere of “rule by fear” hindered the retention of talent and pushed skilled employees, particularly engineers, out of the organization.

Affirmative Action and BEE Programs

Eskom also implemented aggressive affirmative action and BEE programs during the Zuma years. These programs pressured managers to meet racial and gender quotas, particularly in technical fields.

Between 2011 and 2013, Eskom’s workforce increased by 4,488 employees, with many being hired in just three months to meet affirmative action targets, often without considering their skills.

Targeting of White Employees

Reports in 2015 and 2019 suggested that Eskom was planning to cut the number of white engineers, managers, and tradespeople to meet affirmative action goals, causing many white employees to resign.

Trade union Solidarity stated that Eskom’s policies made it difficult for white engineers to work in the organization, further exacerbating the loss of skills.

Loss of Engineering Skills

Eskom’s aggressive transformation process, corruption, and affirmative action efforts led to a significant loss of engineering skills, especially among experienced white engineers.

This loss of skills has had a severe impact on Eskom’s operations, contributing to maintenance delays, budget overruns, and poor quality work.

Current Challenges

Today, Eskom continues to grapple with a severe shortage of engineering skills, impacting its ability to maintain and operate power stations effectively.

Efforts to bring back experienced engineers to mentor new hires have not yielded the desired results.

Conclusion

Eskom’s decade-long struggle with the loss of skilled engineers, influenced by corruption and affirmative action policies, has left the organization with a skills deficit that significantly affects its ability to provide reliable electricity in South Africa.

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Eskom Loadshedding will continue until 5:00 on Tuesday, as previously announced

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Eskom Loadshedding will continue until 5:00 on Tuesday, as previously announced

Until 05:00 on Tuesday, stage 4 loadshedding will continue. Until further notice, Stage 2 and 4 loadshedding will take place.

Eskom Loadshedding will continue until 5:00 on Tuesday, as previously announced

Monday, 10 July 2023: Stage 4 loadshedding is being implemented until 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday due to increased demand. On Wednesday, Stage 4 loadshedding will be implemented from 14:00 until 05:00, followed by Stage 2 loadshedding from 05:00 to 14:00.

Eskom Loadshedding Today

There will be a daily implementation of this pattern until further notice. A new update will be published if any significant changes are made.

As of now, 14 252MW of generating capacity has been damaged by breakdowns, while 4 118MW of generating capacity has been out of service for planned maintenance.

As of today, Duvha, Hendrina, Kendal, Kriel, Matimba and Medupi power stations have each reactivated a generating unit.

The Arnot and Tutuka power stations each had a generation unit out of service due to a breakdown during the same period.

Tutuka Power Station’s current capacity constraints are due to the delay in resuming two generating units. In order to restore service to the generating units, Eskom teams are working around the clock.

Members of the public are being encouraged to use electricity sparingly and efficiently, and we want to thank the people who do heed the call. During the period between 17:00 and 21:00, please turn off your geysers and pool pumps as this reduces demand, alleviates pressure on the power system, and contributes to fewer stages of load-shedding.

For Further Notice Visit Official Site 

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