Gordhan: SA to have adequate power in 2yrs

The minister was responding to criticism by the DA in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa is likely to have adequate power supply within the next two years, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan revealed on Tuesday.

He was responding to criticism by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Parliament this afternoon.

A power emergency last week forced Eskom to implement load shedding for the first time in six years.

The parastatal maintains it had to introduce the blackouts because mining houses were supplying them with wet coal due to recent heavy rain.

Gordhan says government has been frank about the tight electricity supply.

He says new power stations are being built, renewable energy is coming on stream and pending shale gas exploration should ease the situation.

"I reckon in the next two years or so, we will have adequate electricity supply. We have to admit that we have to make the adaptations necessary now in order to cope with the current situation."

The minister also accused the DA of trying to score political points ahead of elections.

SEARCH ON FOR ESKOM CEO

Eskom CEO Brian Dames on Monday told The Money Show that his replacement has not yet been appointed, despite his departure at the end of March.

He said he will not stay on, even if the utility asks him to do so.

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

The search is now on for his successor.

Woodburn Mann Managing Director (MD) Andrew Woodburn says the Eskom CEO position has been called one of the toughest jobs in the country.

But he says that claim isn't necessarily true.

"There are a number of roles that would be putting up their hand for the toughest job in the country, starting with President Zuma's position," Woodburn says.

He says Eskom is casting the net far and wide in its search for a new boss.

"From a public and consumer perspective, what Eskom needs is someone who can stand up and take responsibility. They need that someone fast."

He says the new Eskom CEO will need to be a strong and independent leader.

Analysts say the CEO has to be a number of things, including a political chameleon, an expert in engineering, someone who understands the power grid, someone who understands people and motivation, and someone who can tell a good tale to the South African public when the lights go out.

Woodburn says the CEO must also be a futurist.

"The organisation must be looking to the future to prevent us landing up in the trouble we're in now."

The MD says the Eskom CEO must have incredible commercial acumen as the parastatal is faced with business model challenges, pricing, funding and potential industry restructuring.

"That person also has to be incredibly sharp," Woodburn adds.