No replacement for Dames yet

The outgoing Eskom CEO says he isn’t willing to stay at the utility until a replacement is found.

Outgoing Eskom CEO Brian Dames says he isn’t willing to stay at the power utility until a replacement is found. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Outgoing Eskom Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Brian Dames on Monday said his replacement has not yet been appointed.

This despite him scheduled to leave the power utility at the end of March.

Dames announced his resignation in December after serving just over three years at the helm.

"I think the board is still busy with that process."

The CEO says he isn't willing to stay at the utility until a replacement is found.

"I have been very accommodating up until now to extend it [my contract] until March. There is never a good time to do these things but maybe last week was a good indication of what it means to have my life back."

Dames says the parastatal has a capable management team and he is sure one of them can lead the utility in his absence on a temporary basis.

He says his job is a very difficult one, whether there is sufficient capacity or not.

Dames says the utility has done exceptionally well over the last six years.

The CEO warned the power grid remained fragile and would continue to face constraints into winter.

"We have said to you since 2010 that the power situation in South Africa is constrained. That is still the case and remains a reality. I think we have done very well to maintain the lights."

The utility had to implement emergency load shedding on Thursday due to severe pressure on the power grid.

Eskom implemented the power cuts for the first time in six years because coal supplies were wet after days of heavy rain.

Dames says the recent wet weather has had a significant impact on the vulnerability of supply as the parastatal's drenched coal supply cannot be used properly at power stations.

"It is tough out there, it is very wet."

He called on consumers to continue using power sparingly.

SASOL BECOMING ENERGY INDEPENDENT

Sasol CEO David Constable says the group self-generates over 70 percent of its power requirements.

"We work very closely with Eskom and when we do run into these issues [load shedding], we turn down production at our facilities on non-critical units and turn up self-generator power capacity."

He says the group is becoming more energy independent for the sake of the security of the business.

"We already have gas-fired power plants installed in Secunda and Sasolburg, and will continue to build gas-fired plants."

The CEO also says the group is in support of government's National Development Plan, which it is internalising in its strategic discussions.

"We are looking at how it can play a larger role in energy and create jobs."

Constable also said the group is implementing a new operating model from 1 July where it hopes to see more than R3 billion per year in savings by the end of 2016.

He says right now, top and senior management structures are being streamlined to ensure that decision-making becomes more efficient.

The group said on Monday its first-half headline earnings rose 26 percent, helped by a weaker rand and higher chemical prices.