New Eskom CEO will have a target on his back

New Eskom CEO Dan Marokane will have a target on his back as he will be the first person South Africans blame for load-shedding and any lack of improvement in electricity supply. 

This is feedback from energy analyst professor Hartmut Winkler, who told the SABC that Marokane should be allowed to serve his full term unless something drastic goes wrong. 

Marokane began his term as group chief executive of the ailing power utility on 1 March 2024, following a year-long process to replace Andre de Ruyter. 

Eskom board chairman Mteto Nyati said they were confident in Marokane’s abilities, as well as in the leadership and staff of Eskom.

He emphasised their collective commitment to turning the organisation around. “We expect Dan and his leadership team to accomplish at least two critical tasks,” said Nyati.

“First, they must address the current business challenges. Load-shedding must become a thing of the past. Second, they must reposition and restructure Eskom to enable growth and sustainability.”

Winkler expressed his confidence in Marokane’s ability and said he should be given a fair chance to show what he can do as Eskom’s CEO. 

“Personally, unless he can be shown to have done something completely wrong, which I don’t think he will, I think he should serve his entire term,” Winkler said. 

“The successful teams are the ones that have held on to their strategy for many years. Success does not happen overnight,” he said, comparing Eskom to managing a football club. 

Winkler said, unfortunately, as with football teams, the manager will take the blame as soon as things go wrong or do not improve. 

“I think the moment we have an escalation of load-shedding and the moment people realise load-shedding won’t be a thing of the past this year or next year, immediately they will look for people to blame.”

“I’m afraid the new CEO of Eskom is going to be a target, as have all the previous CEOs in such a situation.”

Andre de Ruyter
Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter

Marokane’s predecessor, Andre de Ruyter, faced immense criticism for being vocal about the corruption and mismanagement at Eskom while seemingly contradicting government policy. 

The former Eskom CEO left the utility following repeated clashes with the government and has been critical of the government’s intense involvement in the utility.

De Ruyter announced his resignation from the utility in December 2022 after Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe publicly accused Eskom management of “agitating for the overthrow of the state”.

Following his departure, De Ruyter also revealed that Minster of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan was heavily involved in the utility.

De Ruyter previously said there were many examples of Gordhan’s intervention in the utility’s day-to-day operations. The minister allegedly bypassed the former CEO, his COO, and Eskom’s head of generation.

“Whether that was to gain or verify information, I don’t know, but it made life as the responsible accounting officer quite difficult,” he said. “Many different cooks in the kitchen do not always result in a good meal.”

De Ruyter has also said the appointment of Ramokgopa as Electricity Minister was “puzzling”.

“The appointment of an Electricity Minister was a somewhat puzzling move because, at my time at Eskom, we were already stretched thin in terms of making presentations to and attending meetings with government officials,” De Ruyter said. 

He said that Eskom’s management team was already having meetings at all hours “to meet the needs of various members of the Cabinet to remain informed”. 

“The introduction of an additional layer, without simplifying reporting lines, that probably was not helpful,” De Ruyter said. 


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