South African political opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA) is using the appointment of new Eskom boss Tshediso Matona to demand greater transparency on the delayed construction of two power plants.

Natasha Michael MP, Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises at the DA, said the party planned to write to Mr Matona to request an urgent meeting to discuss the on-going problems at the state utility, particularly the surrender of contracts relating to the delayed Medupi and Kusile power stations and the recaptilisation of Eskom.

Matona, named on Wednesday as chief executive of the state-run power utility, is a career civil servant who has served as an international negotiator as well as director general of the Department of Public Enterprises.

End to Eskom monopoly?

Ms Michael said she hoped Matona would bring some “much-needed transparency to Eskom”. She commented: “If the new CEO is serious about acting as a positive force at the state utility, he must immediately provide unrestricted access to all 31 contracts connected to the construction of the significantly delayed Medupi power station in order to hold those responsible for delays – resulting in rolling blackouts – accountable.”

The DA is also pushing for “ending Eskom’s monopoly through the privatisation of the state utility.”

Matona has been closely involved with government policy and oversight of Eskom for the past three years in his role as the top civil servant at the department of public enterprises.

He will take the helm at Eskom on September 1 at a time when the utility expects a revenue shortfall of up to ZAR225 billion (US$21 billion) for the next four years, so to help bridge the gap it has been given permission to raise prices next year above the 8 per cent previously granted – a move that will likely fan inflation which is running at 6.3 per cent.