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Eskom CEO De Ruyter says he’s finding common ground with unions

Eskom CEO André De Ruyter has been in office now for over two months and said he still didn’t regret taking the job.

FILE: Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter at a briefing on 31 January 2020. Picture: Bonga Dlulane/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom CEO André de Ruyter on Tuesday said he was able to find common ground with unions on issues confronting the power utility including the unbundling process.

De Ruyter spoke to Eyewitness News in a wide-ranging interview.

He has been in office now for over two months and said he still didn’t regret taking the job. When he was announced as the new Eskom CEO unions were fuming.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) rejected his appointment, describing it as a setback for transformation.

In fact, NUM said it would work with him only if he could stop the unbundling of Eskom.

De Ruyter said he had a constructive meeting with the unions.

“So far, I think that we have been able to find common ground [and] I’m reasonably confident that we’ve got a very good relationship with organised labour,” he said.

De Ruyter Indicated last month that the unbundling of the power utility will still happen but will not be rushed and will be done in the right way.

ALTERNATIVE POWER GENERATION

Meanwhile, De Ruyter said he was still awaiting details from Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe on alternative power generation. The Eskom CEO indicated that he expected the minister to announce the details of the plan soon.

Mantashe announced during the first day of the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town last month that he had invited investors to either partner with the government or invest on their own in the creation of an alternative power generation entity-outside of Eskom.

When Mantashe announced the plan to establish another state-owned generation company, De Ruyter told the Daily Maverick he was not informed in advance.

When asked if he had now been briefed, he told EWN he still expected the minister to outline the plan.

“I think the minister of energy will be developing those plans and make further announcements going forward,” De Ruyter said.

He said what was clear was that the country did require more generation capacity.

“To replace some of the older Eskom plants that are due to be retired within the next couple of years,” he said.

De Ruyter said what was also required was a partnership between Eskom and the private sector.