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    Reading between the lines: Mantashe rips into ex-Eskom CEO's new book

    May 18, 2023 - Khulekani Magubane


      Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe made it known that he was not a fan of former Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter's new book Truth To Power, slamming it as a mere "diary of meetings".

      De Ruyter's book comes after he resigned from the power utility, after an interview with eNCA veteran journalist Annika Larsen which painted a bleak picture of a government complacent with corruption at Eskom.

      While he was expected to serve in the post until the end of March, by February, De Ruyter had left with immediate effect. Eskom has advertised to fill the position of group CEO, which CFO Calib Cassim occupies in an acting capacity.

      In his book, De Ruyter characterised Mantashe as a belligerent element in his efforts to resolve Eskom's financial, governance, and operational challenges. He also wrote that Mantashe was an obstacle in his efforts to make room for renewable energy at the power utility.

      In the novel written by De Ruyter, which is a diary really, there's nothing novel about it. It's a diary of meetings that he has had.

      Gwede Mantashe

      Speaking to delegates at the Enlit Africa Conference in Cape Town on Wednesday, Mantashe said government understood that many markets have accepted "to a certain extent" that the South African energy sector needed Karpowership's technology to deal with loadshedding, after seeing the technology being used in other countries.

      "In the novel written by De Ruyter, which is a diary really, there's nothing novel about it. It's a diary of meetings that he has had ... in that diary, De Ruyter criticised me, for identifying a 15,000MW gap in the ability of Eskom to supply energy, and he says it's either I lack understanding or whatnot. Now I do lack understanding. I have never run a power station. But at least I did arithmetic. I can add one and one is two. I can do that.

      "Now if, for example, we have a connected capacity in Eskom of 46,000MW and Eskom, at best, gives us 26,000MW, it means there is a gap of 20,000MW of connected capacity that is not giving us energy, and we must pursue that. The only way you can pursue that — and that is not happening at Eskom — is to look at an energy availability factor power station by power station and address it. That is a function of servicing those power stations," said Mantashe.

      Mantashe said the emergency energy procurement announced by government and the national energy crisis committee allows for the procurement of power from a variety of energy technologies, and that the government should unapologetically pursue the best solution to address loadshedding.

      "If you only eat chicken and the villages only slaughter cattle, you will starve. But we slaughter cattle. Now, if Eskom is very selective about what technology we want when we are in darkness, then something is not adding up," said Mantashe.

      Mantashe said Eskom would reduce the pressure on the economy if there was a thorough service of each power plant. He said all indications were that Eskom had recognised what needed to be done and would now respond appropriately.


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