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‘My first priority is to deal with load shedding’

Eskom’s new Acting Chief Executive, Brian Molefe, will soon sit with execs to find out what can be done.

FILE: Molefe said he would stay at Eskom for as long as it took to sort out its problems. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Just hours after Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown announced the news, Eskom's new Acting Chief Executive, Brian Molefe, said he was already getting down to business and insisted his first priority was to deal with the current load shedding problem.

Brown announced that he'd been seconded to the troubled utility from Transnet.

Molefe said he was planning to sit with executives 'very soon' and hear from them what could be done to solve the country's power problems.

He said once the situation has stabilised, he would turn his attention to more long-term issues.

"And then from there is to make sure that we can on a sustainable basis, provide electricity without having to load shed. I don't know how, but I'm quite confident that sitting down with the team, we should be able to work out a plan."

Molefe said he would stay at Eskom for as long as it took to sort out its problems.

Molefe is the current Group Chief Executive Officer of Transnet.

He has taken the reins temporarily from Eskom's current CEO Tshediso Matona and three other directors who were suspended by Eskom's Chair at the time, Zola Tsotsi.

Brown on Friday said she consulted with President Jacob Zuma, Eskom 'War Room' head, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, and the Boards of Eskom and Transnet.

"His experience is having turned around the PIC and providing stability at Transnet is a clear indication that Mr Molefe is no stranger in leading complex institutions."

Brown added Molefe's experience at the Public Investment Corporation and Transnet showed he was the right person to lead Eskom.

"To consolidate the leadership at Eskom, I will soon be submitting my recommendations to Cabinet on appointing additional members to strengthen and augment the required skills on the Board."

She explained however, that the decision to institute an inquiry had created uncertainty around Eskom's ability to ensure security of supply and successful delivery of its build programme.

The firm Dentons has been appointed to lead the independent inquiry into the parastatal.

Brown said, "I am informed that the system is still tight. However, Eskom and its engineers are doing their utmost to contain further interruptions at our power plants."

On Wednesday Brown briefed the nation on the current state of the grid and the reasons for the implementation of stage 3 load shedding by Eskom.

Meanwhile, South Africa has held talks with the World Bank about drawing down $1,6 billion remaining on a loan to state-owned power utility Eskom, Matsietsi Mokholo, acting director general of the Department of Public Enterprises, told Reuters on Friday.

Additional reporting by Reuters.