'There's a combination of skills unlike in the past': Mantashe throws his weight behind new Eskom board

Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe. File photo.
Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe has thrown his weight behind the new Eskom board, saying it is skilled compared to the previous one. 

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan appointed business leader Mpho Makwana as chair of the new board. 

The other board members are Dr Busisiwe Vilakazi, Lwazi Goqwana, Clive le Roux, Leslie Mkhabela, Mteto Nyati, Fatima Gany, Ayanda Mafuleka, Dr Tsakani Mthombeni, Dr Claudelle von Eck, Tryphosa Ramano, Dr Rod Crompton and Bheki Ntshalintshali.

Crompton is the only member from the previous board to serve on the new one to ensure continuity. Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter and CFO Calib Cassim are executive members.

Speaking to media at the Dumisani Mafu memorial lecture in Butterworth, Eastern Cape, Mantashe said he was confident the new board will bring about change at the embattled power utility. 

“There's a combination of skills in that board unlike the past, [including] technical skills,” said Mantashe.

“But always remember, a board is not the executive. There's still a responsibility to get the executive to have the required skills and the actual operations must have the requested skills.”

Mantashe reiterated that Eskom has a huge generation capacity sitting idle. 

"[This] requires management of Eskom that's why I said it is a function of leadership, a function of skills and a function of appreciating priorities,” said Mantashe. 

Previously, Mantashe criticised Eskom’s management for resorting to load-shedding, saying it has enough electricity in reserve. 

He said the power utility has access to about 6,000MW of extra reserve capacity that could be used to avoid load-shedding.

“I hear this 6,000MW but I know Eskom is having 45,000MW connected capacity. It operates at 30,000MW. Therefore, the shortfall of 15,000MW is on the suboptimal operation of Eskom.

“As we implement the supplementary programme to boost generation, Eskom can also be optimised. They have 15,000MW that is idle. There is a lot of energy that is not used because of one reason or another,” he said. 



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