de ruyter

Media statement: André de Ruyter’s resignation met with great disappointment


POSTED ON: December 15, 2022 IN by Admin
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BLSA is extremely concerned that international support for SA’s just energy transition might
now be at risk if a change in CEO signals a change in approach.


MEDIA STATEMENT
André de Ruyter’s resignation met with great disappointment

It is with great disappointment that the BLSA learns of André de Ruyter’s resignation as CEO of Eskom. He was operating under extremely difficult conditions. These include crippling debt, insufficient generation capacity having been procured in time to avert the current state of extreme loadshedding we’re facing; the age and lack of historical maintenance of the power utility’s plant and equipment; and political opposition. BLSA agrees with BUSA CEO Cas Cavoodia that certain utterances by some in government and other sectors have been irresponsible.

We believe De Ruyter has taken Eskom in the right direction. Internally he has done much to rebuild the skills base and strengthen discipline and operational processes which were destroyed in the years of state capture prior to his appointment.

Loadshedding, however, got progressively worse during his tenure with CSIR figures showing Eskom had shed 5,761GWh in the first nine months of this year, more than double last year’s 2,521GWh. This was used as a stick to beat him with despite him having predicted that loadshedding would be part of our daily lives until end-2022 at the time of his appointment. He cited numerous factors chief of which was high levels of downtime required for maintenance due to the ageing power plants and historical neglect. Four of SA’s major plants, namely: Komati, Camden, Grootvlei and Hendrina, are all over 50 years old. Increasing incidents of sabotage have directly caused higher stages of loadshedding.

The primary reason for the excessive loadshedding, however, is the lack of new generation capacity coming on stream, which is a direct failure of government, particularly in relation to the breakdown in the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme. Bid window 4, held in 2015, was held up for four years because of state corruption while the subsequent bid windows are floundering with government showing no ability or indeed willpower to get the programme back on track. Consequently, there is simply not enough capacity to keep the lights on. Had new renewable energy been procured every year since 2015 as scheduled, we would not be suffering such extreme loadshedding today.

De Ruyter also kickstarted SA’s just energy transition through focussed advocacy, culminating in the repurposing of the Komati power station into a renewable generation site. Funded by the World Bank, the project has a strong focus on job retention, reskilling and creating new jobs. He also initiated the leasing of Eskom land to private sector operators to develop renewable energy plants. His actions have been widely applauded internationally for
developing a prototype model for countries to transition from coal with minimal job losses and strong community upliftment components.

BLSA is extremely concerned that international support for SA’s just energy transition might
now be at risk if a change in CEO signals a change in approach.

Another concern is the high churn of CEOs at all state-owned enterprises, which has hampered progress and disrupted policy continuation. Since 2007, Eskom has had 13 CEOs including interim appointments.

We hope the new CEO receives the necessary political and public support to see through the
important initiatives De Ruyter has started while being set realistic targets. The lack of funding for diesel supplies is a severe handicap in the fight to ease the loadshedding crisis, as is the urgent need to increase transmission capacity. Addressing the destructive acts of sabotage at power plants should be a top priority for our law enforcement.

BLSA thanks De Ruyter for the hard work and full commitment he brought to the role and
wishes him the best in the future.

BLSA is also committed to continuing to support Eskom and government in their efforts to
stabilise the country’s energy supply as quickly as possible through the President’s energy crisis plan announced in July.

[ENDS]

For more information, please contact:

Tumelo Muteme

Internal Communications and Media Relations Manager

Tel: 011 356 4650 / 076 538 8502 Email: tmuteme@businessleadership.org.za


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