Eskom power station. Picture: REUTERS
Eskom power station. Picture: REUTERS

Eskom has appointed Jan Oberholzer as its chief operating officer, it announced on Friday.

Oberholzer will be part of a three-person team that will also include CEO Phakamani Hadebe and a yet to be appointed chief financial officer.

Hadebe was made permanent CEO in May and Oberholzer’s appointment is another step in Eskom’s bid to strengthen governance and entice investors back. Eskom has said a chief financial officer will be appointed in the coming weeks.

Oberholzer has a formidable task ahead as, last month, the financially embattled utility reinstated load shedding amid labour unrest, low coal stocks, and increased winter demand.

Oberholzer has spent 24 of his 38 years of work experience at Eskom, holding various positions, including that of chief operating officer of its distribution division. Most recently, he successfully led the improvement of a number of hydro-power plants in Zambia, Eskom said in a statement.

"Jan brings a wealth of operational experience in the energy sector, as well as valuable institutional memory, which I am confident will stand him in good stead to successfully reform our operations and set them up for sustainable success," Hadebe said in the statement.

Although sentiment towards Eskom is generally improving, it continues to face serious challenges. It is currently in wage talks with unions and its offer of a 6.7% increase, which it hasn’t budgeted for, is yet to be accepted by most of its workers.