Despite being overstaffed with as many as 27,500 employees, the government does not want retrenchments imposed on Eskom as part of the efforts to turn around the bankrupt power utility. Speaking to parliament on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said references to cost cutting "should be understood not to mean retrenchments. The preferred strategy in reducing human resources costs will be to offer voluntary packages to staff." A 2016 World Bank study of utilities in Africa, which looked at the staffing data for 36 countries, found that Eskom needs a workforce of 14,244. Other figures also indicate that the utility is overstaffed. In 2007, for example, Eskom employed 32,674 people and sold 218,120GWh of power. The number of employees ballooned by nearly 50% to 48,628 in the 2018 financial year, while sales declined to 212,190GWh. Ramaphosa’s comments came as Eskom imposed its fifth consecutive day of load shedding, as plant breakdowns and diesel supply issues meant the utility coul...

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