Andre de Ruyter will bring stability to Eskom, says Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa has hailed the appointment of outgoing Nampak CEO Andre de Ruyter as the new Eskom group CEO, saying it was a move to bring stability to the troubled power utility.
In his opening remarks in a meeting with the Black Business Council, Ramaphosa referenced the crises at Eskom, saying the board and government were working together on a turnaround.
“The appointment of a permanent group chief executive officer at Eskom is an important step to restoring stability and forging a sustainable path on this strategic entity,” he said.
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan announced on Monday that De Ruyter would take over as Eskom CEO after Phakamani Hadebe resigned.
There has been mixed reaction to De Ruyter’s appointment, with some raising concerns about transformation.
“The Eskom board, working together with the government, continues to pursue turnaround plans to address its huge debt, its liquidity problems and operations challenges,” Ramaphosa said.
Referencing Eskom’s critical role in the economy, Ramaphosa said energy security was critical for local industries and the economy to flourish.
He said work was being done to strengthen governance at state-owned enterprises.
Ramaphosa said the government had to restore the finances of SOEs to health “if we are going to reign in public debt”.
The BBC this week congratulated De Ruyter on his appointment, while some trade unions dubbed it as anti-transformative.
Ramaphosa told the BBC on Thursday that its members ought to work with the government to fundamentally transform the economy.
“As representatives of black business, you have a central role to play in the national effort to change the structure of our economy to ensure that it is representative, inclusive and benefits all our people,” he said.
Ramaphosa said it was essential that broad-based BEE contributed to inclusive economic growth and job creation.
“We should all be concerned about the slow pace of transformation in the workplace, particularly in the private sector. This necessitates some serious introspection by business and clear strategies to promote employment equity,” he said.