Eskom failures have nothing to do with corruption – Ramokgopa

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa claimed that “unit failures have nothing to do with corruption” and Eskom’s failure to improve its fleet’s performance “has no relationship with corruption”.

Ramokgopa made these comments during an interview on The Money Show, where he outlined Eskom’s recently improved performance and the measures taken to ensure this performance is sustained. 

When asked about the allegations by former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter, Ramokgopa claimed that Eskom’s poor performance has more to do with poor leadership than corruption. 

“It is the responsibility of the CEO. There is corruption at the utility and you must deal with it”, but the key problem at Eskom is the consistent underperformance of generating units. 

“Unit failures have nothing to with corruption. It is about ensuring that you understand why units are underperforming and taking action to resolve the underperformance. That has no relationship with corruption,” Ramokgopa said. 

“The fact that you must get the most appropriately qualified people with the right experience to run power stations has no relationship with corruption.”

It has everything to do with poor leadership and an inability to communicate effectively with workers and unions to improve morale and workforce productivity, according to Ramokgopa.

Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter

This is not the minister’s first dismissal of the claim that corruption undermines Eskom’s performance. 

Ramokgopa previously dismissed former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter’s allegations that corruption is to blame for problems at the Kusile power station.

De Ruyter told eNCA’s Annika Larson that a corrupt tender awarded to Hitachi Power Africa to provide Medupi and Kusile with boiler units is to blame for the severity of load-shedding.

He said there was “substantial manipulation of design criteria” to ensure Hitachi, which was in a joint venture with Chancellor House, won the R38 billion boiler unit tender.

The boiler units were not fit for their purpose at the power stations as the exhaust gas temperature from the boiler supplied by Hitachi was too high.

It contributed to the collapse of a flue duct at Kusile, which resulted in three operating units being taken offline.

“If the contract had initially been awarded correctly, without corruption, we would not have had the severity of load-shedding we have right now,” De Ruyter said.

“That still is hugely problematic for us in terms of design defects that are the direct result of the corrupt award of the boiler contract – and we are still battling with that.”

Ramokgopa, who visited the power station, said he was informed about many technical issues at the power station.

He said the challenges at Kusile are technical problems which have “nothing to do with so-called corruption”.

“The units which have gone out due to the chimney’s structural integrity and the issues around the design component have nothing to do with corruption,” he said.

“They have everything to do with technical designs. There are significant modifications that they are making, and I am happy with the modifications they are proposing.”

Based on the management version, the five Kusile units that are out of operation have nothing to do with corruption.


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