Cape Town - Eskom’s board has announced that it will be making a structural change and eliminating the position of chief operating officer (COO) after Jan Oberholzer, the current COO, retires in April this year.
The decision was made known by Eskom board member Mteto Nyati in an abrupt briefing on Eskom’s current system challenges.
It was also announced that load shedding would be eased for the weekend with Stage 4 expected today and Stage 3 by tomorrow.
Nyati said this has been part of a discussion within the board as they looked with strategic intent at where Eskom was heading with the unbundling and separation of its different entities.
Eskom was expected to be unbundled into three constituent parts focused on generation, transmission and distribution.
“And looking back at where we are coming from, this phenomenon of having a COO is something new within Eskom. Given these two considerations, it was felt that going forward, we are not going to have a COO,” Nyati said.
Responding to questions on Eskom’s progress in fulfilling the position of outgoing CEO André de Ruyter, who was expected to depart from the power utility at the end of March after announcing his resignation in December, Nyati said the process had begun in earnest.
“The whole search for a new CEO is led by our chairperson together with the nominations committee of the board.
“They have been hard at work and a long list of candidates will be presented in the next two weeks. That is the beginning of the process and from that list, we will end up with a shortlist,” Nyati said.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said the briefing was held in order for the power utility to keep its commitment of keeping the public updated during high stages of load shedding, as Stages 5 and 6 load shedding had been implemented (also abruptly) earlier this week due to breakdowns at several power stations.
Eskom’s acting head of generation, Thomas Conradie, said the grid was still highly unpredictable. However, they would be bringing a number of generating units online soon which will reduce the stages of load shedding for the weekend.
Conradie added that after outages, some units have not been performing better and Eskom was looking into this.