Eskom will have to connect the renewables power generation to its transmission grid says Nersa
Brian Molefe. Pic credit EWN
Brian Molefe appointed as Eskom’s Chief Executive Officer

On Friday, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown announced that South Africa’s cabinet has approved the appointment of Brian Molefe as Eskom’s Chief Executive Officer.

Along with Molefe’s appointment, cabinet approved the permanent positions of Ben Ngubane as Chairman and Anoj Singh as Chief Financial Officer of the state-owned power utility.

In a ministry statement Brown said: “I welcome these appointments and they are part of my on-going interventions to stabilise Eskom.”

Molefe not new to state-owned companies

Molefe was drafted to Eskom in mid-April as its acting chief executive from state-owned rail freight company Transnet.

Singh had also been on secondment from Transnet and Brown said its board would now look to replace him and Molefe, who face a formidable challenge as they try to turn Eskom around.

Minister Brown added: “Dr Ngubane has steadied the company since 30 March 2015 as Acting Chairperson. Together with Mr Molefe, who was seconded from Transnet in mid-April 2015, they have been successful in bringing stability to the Company [Eskom] whilst dealing with a constrained grid.

“The Executive was further strengthened when Mr Singh was seconded from Transnet as acting CFO from 1 August 2015 for a period of six months.

“I want to thank the Transnet Board for agreeing to second Mr Molefe and Mr Singh to Eskom. Now that they have been permanently appointed at Eskom, I have requested the Board to start the process to fill these vacancies at Transnet.”

Eskom’s balance sheet

As well as struggling to supply power, Eskom faces a serious liquidity crunch. It has said it needs ZAR200 billion ($14.5 billion) to plug a funding gap until 2018, Reuters Africa reported.

In August, ESI reported that Eskom’s two areas of concern are its financial sustainability and improving the reliability of its fleet of power plants.

At the time Brown had stated that Eskom’s net profit decreased from ZAR7.1 billion ($549 million) to ZAR3.6 billion ($314 million).

Brown said: “Similar to other state-owned companies, Eskom must finalise steps to wean the organisation from the support of the fiscus. Eskom must be put on a course where it can live off its balance sheet.”