New Eskom CEO Will Face Same Challenges

According to the official advertisement for the position of CEO of Eskom, applicants must have a post-graduate degree in engineering along with a substantial track record in business management (Business Report, February 6). However, the reality is that none of those attributes actually matters because the new CEO will be required “to comply with government policies.”

Outgoing CEO Andre De Ruyter was handed a poisoned chalice from the outset.  He was set up to fail because of the prevalence of powerful syndicates within the coal, diesel, plant and accounting sectors which had no intention of adhering to reforms and restructuring. The attempt to kill De Ruyter by poisoning him makes that clear.

So the sound bytes of Ramaphosa and the ANC proclaiming they are doing everything to stabilise the electricity supply are worthless because whoever becomes Eskom CEO is going to face the same obduracy. In the first place, the CEO will not be his own boss because he will be required to report to the Chairman of the Board. That stipulation contravenes basic corporate governance.

By having to comply with government policies, it becomes obvious that whatever skills the new CEO has, will have to be subordinated to the very policies that have brought Eskom to its knees. In other words, his challenges will be the same as De Ruyter’s.

Although the ANC faithfully adheres to the failed ideology of socialism, it is surprising that it fails to appreciate the role of electricity in securing communist rule in Russia a century ago. Communist dictator Lenin fast-tracked the construction of 30 power stations so that electricity could be available far and wide.

The illumination provided by “Ilyich” lamps (Lenin’s second name) in peasants’ cottages conveyed a very positive political message whereas load shedding, achieved by the ANC’s incompetence and corruption, translates into vote-shedding.

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