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    Hlengwa: Eskom board must do right thing, make tough choices


    May 6, 2022 - Mayibongwe Maqhina

     

      CAPE TOWN - The complete lack of progress or positive change in the functioning of Eskom seem to indicate that both upper management and the board of Eskom were sitting on their hands, rather than making the difficult decisions needed to steer the entity in the right direction, says IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa.

      Speaking during a debate in the National Assembly on the energy crisis and the threat of a protracted failure of Eskom, Hlengwa said introducing the debate was not influenced by any other development.

      Hlengwa recently apologised to Eskom board member Busisiwe Mavuso after an exchange of words, which led her to leave a parliamentary meeting before it was concluded.

      He said the debate was requested in the last term in March and conditions have remained the same since as the country remained in the dark.

      Hlengwa noted that a senior official at Eskom had indicated that they were predicting 100 days of rolling power cuts in winter.

      “This entity is unable to deliver on its fundamental mandate which is to generate enough energy to power our national grid. With almost weekly breakdowns and other maintenance issues, it is clear our energy infrastructure is ageing faster than Eskom can get its affairs in order,” he charged.

      EFF MP Omphile Maotwe said all interventions to stabilise Eskom were misguided as the government refused to address obvious challenges facing the entity.

      “We said stabilise Eskom leadership. We did not tell you to hire incompetent people with a proven history of failing to manage complex entities,” she charged.

      DA MP Kevin Mileham noted with concern that more than half of Eskom’s coal-power units were offline for one reason or another.

      “Our energy availability factor is at record low of 58% and the three-month outlook indicates a rough road ahead with high risk of load shedding, yet this government is appearing to be in complete denial of the urgency and the seriousness of the electricity crisis,” Mileham said.

      But Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said it was the government’s commitment to ensure that energy security was achieved as soon as possible.

      “I can assure this House and the public that there is a lot of hard work, notwithstanding the hurdles and difficulties we face that goes into this. Let’s be frank, this is not a task that is either easy, nor is going to be a quick fix. It is going to take time.

      “It is going to take resilience, it is going to take determined efforts and lots of hurdles along the way. We take responsibility for whatever that has been done, but we will cure whatever that has been done given the time and effort we will put in,” he said.

      Cape Times

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