Eskom says Medupi plant won't be affected after manager quits
The exit of the manager raised concerns of further delays in the construction of the coal-fired plant.
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's power utility Eskom said on Monday the resignation of the project director at Medupi power plant, its first new power station in two decades, will not further delay its construction.
The exit of the manager raised concerns of further delays in the construction of the coal-fired plant, already four years behind schedule at a time when Eskom is battling to keep the lights on in Africa's most industrialised economy.
"We will continue with business as usual when staff return from holidays next week and we do not expect any further delays," Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe told Reuters.
Phillip Dukashe, a former power station manager who has been with Eskom for 22 years, was appointed as acting project manager and will replace Roman Crookes who quit to pursue unspecified opportunities abroad.
The first 800 megawatt (MW) unit of Medupi, north of Johannesburg, was officially opened in August and the entire facility is due to be completed in 2019.
Construction on the six-unit, 4,764 MW Medupi plant near Lephalale, was started in 2007 but the first 794 MW only came online in August after delays due to strikes, technical issues and cost overruns.
Eskom budgeted R105 billion for the entire project but has said this would rise due to overruns.
Earlier last year, the utility was forced to impose almost daily power cuts that hurt economic growth but has said it does not expect to implement electricity blackouts until April 2016.