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‘Opportunities will emerge from Eskom's crisis’

Former Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga believes an overhaul of Eskom’s operating structure is needed.

FILE: Eskom's Megawatt Park head office in Sunninghill, Johannesburg. Picture:Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - While Eskom's top executives battle it out to retain their positions, the utility's former chief executive Jacob Maroga says he believes major opportunities will emerge from the current crisis.

Yesterday, Maroga addressed the 19th Annual Power and Electricity Africa Conference in Johannesburg.

Today a vote of no confidence will reportedly be decided against Chairman Zola Tsotsi, while suspended CEO Tshediso Matona contests his removal from office in the Labour Court.

Maroga believes an overhaul of Eskom's operating structure is needed.

"Normally, sometimes out of a crisis emerges many opportunities. It's not all doom and gloom, it's actually rethinking our energy system, strategy, future and governance. So it may be a face of reflection and re-strategising for South Africa."

NUM CALLS FOR TSOTSI TO STEP DOWN

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday called on Tsotsi to do what it said was " the right thing" and step down.

The NUM has objected to his appointment to the utility's board from the beginning and has urged Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown to take action against him if he refuses to step aside.

The union's Frans Baleni said now was not the time to play games.

"For us it's not about what the board says. We have said from the beginning after the announcement that he had been reappointed that it was a wrong appointment. How can a non-executive chairperson commit to a supplier that Eskom will pay a supplier when he does not have such executive authority?"

Baleni said it wasn't negotiable and that Tsotsi had to step down.

"It is very clear there is unethical conduct from the chairperson or he clearly does not understand good governance where he can actually operate as an executive chairperson, committing Eskom to certain liabilities."

Both Eskom and Brown are refusing at this stage to confirm or deny whether Tsotsi is faced with removal.

POWER GIANT PULLS THE PLUG ON ESKOM

Following a turbulent two weeks for Eskom, it's now been announced that a contract with major power giant Alstom has been terminated.

Alstom has been involved in the control and instrumentation at the Kusile Power Station.

Eskom on Friday said the contract was consensually cancelled, effective as of 17 April but further details would remain confidential.

In the meantime, Eskom appointed ABB South Africa to continue with the contract, which was selected from two suppliers.

ABB in Europe has been instrumental in connecting grids in Norway and Germany.

The Kusile Power Station in Mpumalanga, which is at the heart of a power solution for this country, has faced numerous delays, resulting in South Africans being kept in the dark.