The economic Freedom Fighter EFF has stoutly rejected the appointment of a white man as Eskom CEO.
Following the surprise appointment of Andre de Ruyter as the new CEO of Eskom; The ruling party of the ANC has thrown its weight behind the appointment, saying the task of rebuilding the debt-laden power utility must now begin with “urgency and with unity.”
In a statement released on Monday evening, the ANC said the appointment of a permanent CEO would strengthen Eskom’s capacity to deliver reliable energy. The party said “The responsibility accepted by Mr De Ruyter is one that must be shared by all South Africans whose well-being depends on the well-being of the energy utility. The ANC wishes De Ruyter well in leading the management and staff in turning around the fortunes of a national asset that plays a critical role in the country’s economy.”
The party said the new CEO could be assured of its support.
On the other hand, the main opposition party DA’s chief whip Natasha Mazzone, in a statement, said De Ruyter had “an unenviable task” ahead of him. She said is priorities should include stabilising Eskom’s debt and ensuring a secure electricity supply. She also said “With experience in both the private and public sectors, Mr. de Ruyter has a wealth of experience and we implore upon him to use this experience to set Eskom on the right course to recovery,” she said, adding that he should work to break the utility’s “monopoly over the energy sector.”
On the contrary, the EFF on Monday dismissed De Ruyter’s appointment as “anti-transformation and racist”, calling it “a clear demonstration of deliberate intent to collapse Eskom to rationalise privatisation.”
The party said in its statement that ” Pravin [Gordhan] [Minister of Public Enterprises] does not believe that Africans can manage and build complex institutions. The only time he is comfortable appointing Africans is when he puts them in a position of permanent juniority and treats them like his lap dogs.”
Meanwhile, De Ruyter, who previously headed up JSE-listed packaging company Nampak, will take over the reins at Eskom in mid-January 2020.
Recall that Eskom has been without a permanent CEO for over four months since Phakamani Hadebe resigned at the end of July citing the “unimaginable demands” of the job.
Eskom is plagued with financial, governance and operational challenges, including a group debt burden of about R450 billion, and was last month forced to implement load shedding.