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Andre de Ruyter ‘most suitable’ CEO to lead Eskom, says Mabuza

De Ruyter was expected to take over from Eskom board chairperson and acting CEO Jabu Mabuza in mid-January next year.

FILE: Incoming Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter. Picture: www.nampak.com

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom acting CEO and board chairperson Jabu Mabuza on Thursday said incoming CEO Andre de Ruyter was the perfect man to steer the utility in the right direction.

De Ruyter was expected to take over from Mabuza as Eskom boss in mid-January next year. His appointment was met with mixed reaction with some criticising the move as anti-transformation, but Mabuza rejected this.

“We are satisfied as the board of Eskom and we are very grateful that the shareholder, having followed its own rigour, have come to the same conclusion that Andre de Ruyter is the most suitable, able, available, and willing South African to take this job,” he said.

At the same time, Mabuza said despite the parastatal making a profit in the first six months of this year, interest on its massive debt and non-payment had seen it end R20 billion in the red. The utility announced its interim results on Thursday.

In a surprise announcement, Eskom said it made a profit of R1.3 billion after being expected to record a loss.

Mabuza said the effects of unplanned breakdowns and lower sales during summer months were to blame for its R20 billion loss.

“We face the reality that the organisation needs to borrow to service its debt. Our existing cost base simply cannot accommodate sufficient efficiencies to bridge the revenue gap,” he said.

Eskom chief financial officer Calib Cassim said Soweto’s failure to pay billions of rand in debt was a problem.

“In total, Soweto, as well as municipal arrears, is just over R40 billion in terms of outstanding debt that Eskom needs to collect,” Cassim said.

Despite the dismal figures, the power utility said the appointment of a new CEO was the first step in solving it’s problems.

WATCH: Eskom announces its interim financial results