Eskom Group CEO Phakamani Hadebe. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Eskom Group CEO Phakamani Hadebe. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Embattled power utility Eskom is cutting more than half of the top executive positions following a retrenchment process. 

 It will cut a total of 12 positions, bringing the total number of senior executives, known as F-band executives, down to nine, following a Section 189 process. This was done through “regrading or combining roles”.

It said this would set the utility on a course “to be cost effective, efficient and sustainable”.

Eskom recently reintroduced load-shedding for the first time in more than two years. The reason lies in Eskom’s deteriorating plant capacity — measured by the energy availability factor — due to unplanned breakdowns.  

Eskom, which supplies most of SA’s electricity, has massed R419bn of debt over the past 10 years due to its huge capital build programme. It is now unable to pay interest costs from revenue earned and must borrow to service its debt. Interest costs over the next three years are projected to be R250bn.

Overall debt is projected to rise to R600bn over three years if debt levels are not contained.

Earlier this month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a  team to advise the government on how to address the power utility's challenges. The restructuring of the executive staff is considered one of the steps in this regard.

“This was not an easy process, and I appreciate the patience and support of all those involved as we worked to conclude matters as efficiently as possible,” CEO Phakamani Hadebe said in a statement.

“The new structure, along with our strategy sets us on a path towards stability, and with an executive team that is refocused on improving operational efficiencies and reducing costs to improve profitability and drive the economy forward.”

Executives for generation, distribution, transmission and group capital will now fully account for the utility's profit and loss.

While SA's lights are expected to stay on during the festive period, Eskom has warned of further possible power cuts when factories and businesses re-open in mid-January.