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The Select Committee on Public Enterprises and Communication heard from Eskom’s CEO, Andre de Ruyter, that the terms of employment of employees will not be affected by Eskom’s unbundling process. De Ruyter appeared before the committee to brief it on the power utility’s unbundling process.

Eskom’s chief financial officer, Calib Cassim, told the committee that since the inception of the process the cost incurred is $195 297. The highest estimated cost of the process is $361 million and 42% of that is allocated to information technology and it includes system changes, system configuration, transferring of data and the establishment of new entities.

The committee told De Ruyter that its major concern is the impact of the restructuring process on Eskom’s employees. The committee wanted to hear the power utility’s plans in the event of job losses and enquired from De Ruyter if there is an arrangement of an option of severance packages to the employees.

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De Ruyter assured the committee that the process will not result in forced retrenchments. He said: “We are avoiding Section 189 and are engaging and consulting with labour on the processes of restructuring.”

The committee expressed a view that the challenges at Eskom are well documented and that the unbundling process is not a solution to the Eskom’s challenges. The committee said the unbundling should be a break-up and not a planned privatisation, Eskom must be state-owned.

Committee Chairperson, Tshitereke Matibe, asked for updates on progress with the amendments as they will require the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces’ processes.

In relation to load shedding, Matibe said it’s winter and it is cold and wished there would be no load shedding or it should be minimal in relation to the maintenance.

Kgathatso Tlhakudi, the Director-General of the Department of Public Enterprises, said on the policy side the work is led by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy. Amendments need to be put in place in that the energy policy needs to be amended to enable the transmission business so that it interfaces with the rest of Eskom.

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Tlhakudi said at some point the department needs to come back and provide detailed information.

Matibe said the committee will request continuous updates on the unbundling process on a quarterly basis when the committee finds time until the unbundling of the three units is finalised. “We need to play our role in assisting Eskom, especially on the policy side.”

The committee appreciated the recoveries on monies recovered as a result of state capture.