South Africa’s protracted search for Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s new chief executive officer will end by December, according to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s protracted search for Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s new chief executive officer will end by December, according to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Eskom has been without a full-time head for more than seven months despite an ongoing energy crisis, while freight company Transnet SOC Ltd.’s CEO said she will leave at the end of October. Finding the new chief for Transnet will take longer, Gordhan said.
“It takes long because finding the right person with the right capabilities is a difficult challenge in the South African context,” Gordhan said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “We have a partnership between government and the private sector, which will ensure that the reorientation and repair process and the improvement in performance will take place sooner rather than later.”
The absence of a CEO at the two critical state monopolies has exacerbated a crisis facing Africa’s most-industrialized nation. Incessant power outages implemented by Eskom and Transnet’s inability to run rail operations at capacity has stymied exports, roiling the $406 billion economy.
The beleaguered power utility said it had reviewed 147 “high-caliber” candidates in its global search for a CEO, but the process had failed to “yield a clear-cut set of candidates” as required by the company’s memorandum of incorporation. The board then “emerged with a single appointable candidate.”
Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter abruptly left in February after the airing of a television interview in which he linked ruling African National Congress officials to widespread corruption at the company. His position has been temporarily filled by Chief Financial Officer Calib Cassim.
Meanwhile, inefficiencies at Transnet may have cost the country 150 billion rand ($8 billion) in exports last year, according to the Minerals Council. Glencore Plc and Seriti Resources Holdings Ltd. over the past two weeks have started talks to cut hundreds of jobs in the country as their ability to export coal is stymied.
More from the interview:
- “There are discussions going on both within government and the private sector on how we grow the grid much faster than Eskom had originally intended.”
- “South Africa is sticking to its commitments to the globe as far as the national declared contribution is concerned in decarbonizing our economy.”
- “In many international forums, including the recent UN general assembly, the developing world is still asking the developed world to make its fair share of contribution.”
–With assistance from Colleen Goko.
(Adds details on the power crisis throughout.)
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