‘Trevor Manuel should run Eskom’

Energy expert Chris Yelland gives his reasons as to why the minister is the best man for the job.

Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel. Picture: Stephen Phillipson/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Planning Minister Trevor Manuel is the best person to take the helm at Eskom following Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Brian Dames's resignation, energy expert and Managing Editor at EE Publishers Chris Yelland said on Wednesday.

Dames in December announced he would resign from his post due to personal reasons.

His resignation comes at a critical time for the power utility as two major power stations are due to launch.

The electricity grid has also been under serious strain.

Speaking to 567 CapeTalk/Talk Radio 702's Bruce Whitfield late on Wednesday, Yelland said he believed Manuel would be best suited for job.

He says Eskom is struggling to be sustainable and is running "close to the edge" in terms of its capacity.

Yelland says Eskom should focus on sustainable management rather than crisis management.

"We're looking for a leader with a deep understanding of the South African economy, the National Development Plan, how state-owned enterprises work, how municipalities work and how they are financed. That person needs to understand finance, be it international finance, local finance or corporate finance," he said.

Yelland says the ideal candidate would also need to have a good understanding of government and Cabinet, and how to interact with these bodies.

"The person that comes to my mind - that meets all those requirements or let's say a lot of them - is Trevor Manuel.

"I think his job at the National Planning Commission is coming to an end," says Yelland, meaning he may well be able to take on the role.

"He would be an ideal candidate. He has the stature, he has the respect. He also has the understanding [and] the necessary skills."

Earlier in 2013, Chief Financial Officer Paul O'Flaherty also quit his post at Eskom.

Dames was appointed in 2010.

He will leave office in March.

In an opinion piece for Daily Maverick, also published on this site, Yelland noted Dames's short stint reflected that of his predecessor Jacob Maroga, who also held the position for little more than three years.

"Whatever the reasons for their early departures, clearly both Dames and Maroga failed in their missions by leaving before their job was done," wrote Yelland.

The task for whoever comes next, he then says, is massive.

_To listen to Yelland's full interview, click here. _