The Eskom Megawatt Park headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: WALDO SWIEGERS/BLOOMBERG
The Eskom Megawatt Park headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: WALDO SWIEGERS/BLOOMBERG

Eskom’s first CEO, Ian McRae, who oversaw the rollout of SA’s extensive power station construction project, has died.

Current Eskom CEO André de Ruyter announced on Sunday that McRae had died in the early hours of the morning. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time and we express our condolences on his passing,” said De Ruyter.

McRae started working for what was then called the Electricity Supply Commission (Escom) as an apprentice fitter and turner in 1947. He worked his way up to become the first CEO and chair of Eskom in 1985, during which time he made an “enormous transformational impact” on the SA energy industry, said De Ruyter.

He commended McRae for “presiding over an extensive construction programme that led to the big power stations that we are all familiar with in SA, being rolled out”.

In 1993, McRae was awarded the Business Achievement Award by Business Day in recognition of the “imaginative way in which they had responded to adversity and marketed electricity”.  

According to Eskom records, McRae was a signatory to the World Association of Nuclear Operators charter in Moscow in 1989, making Eskom a full member of the association.

McRae, who was the resident engineer for Komati power station from 1960 to 1965, was awarded an honorary doctorate in engineering by Wits University in 1989, “in recognition of his efforts in the economic upliftment of SA and its neighbouring states, and the improvement of the quality of life for the peoples of Southern Africa”.

The year before, he had been awarded the engineering newsmaker of the year award by the SA Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

mkentanel@businesslive.co.za

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