Eskom chief executive officer André de Ruyter has resigned from his position at the head of the utility, News24 reports.
The publication said De Ruyter notified Eskom board chairman Mpho Makwana of his decision earlier this week.
The chairman has also reportedly informed public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan of De Ruyter’s resignation.
At the time of publication, it was unclear who would step in as acting CEO until the utility appointed a new boss.
News24 reported it was “widely expected” that Makwana would take the helm.
MyBroadband asked Eskom for confirmation of De Ruyter’s resignation, but did not receive feedback by publication.
De Ruyter took the reigns at Eskom on Christmas Day in 2019.
The CEO has come under heavy fire in the past few months, as South Africa faced unprecedented load-shedding peaking at stage 6.
The precarious situation has led to calls for De Ruyter to be sacked.
University of Stellenbosch’s director for renewable energy, Sampson Mamphweli, warned earlier this week that firing De Ruyter would bring nothing but instability and uncertainty to the power utility.
“We don’t know who will come in and how the Eskom employees will receive that particular person,” Mamphweli said, noting that the power utility has had a high CEO turnover since 1996.
EskomSePush co-founder Herman Maritz posted a graph on Wednesday, showing just how bad the power cuts had been in 2022 compared to previous years.
He captioned the picture with “This is enough” in Afrikaans.
As of noon on 14 December 2022, Eskom had implemented 3,380 hours of load-shedding, equivalent to 141 days, during the year.
That works out to more than all the load-shedding implemented over four years between 2018 and 2021.
The previous two worst years of load-shedding — 2020 and 2021 — were also endured under De Ruyter’s tenure.
The graph below shows the hours and stages of load-shedding implemented from 2015 to 14 December 2022.
Solidarity Research Institute head Connie Mulder said De Ruyter’s apparent resignation would deepen the Eskom crisis and not alleviate it.
“The wrong person resigned,” Mulder said. “The problem at Eskom is not the CEO’s operational will but the government’s political will.”
“The best person in the country can be appointed to the position, but the current political dispensation makes it an impossible task for the person.”
Solidarity said politicians had looked for a scapegoat to hide their own incompetence and exerted incredible pressure on De Ruyter.
“Instead of doing the right thing, the politicians sacrificed De Ruyter for the sake of their politics,” Mulder said.
He warned that more extensive corruption at Eskom was a “real danger” without De Ruyter.
“De Ruyter stood on the oxygen line feeding corruption. Those who want to loot more exerted the most pressure for him to resign,” Mulder said.
He called for drastic political changes to help turn Eskom around.
“The current government and the ministers involved do not have the ability to bring about the political changes that are required.”
“The political dispensation is an obstacle for Eskom’s turnaround, and it is political heads that must roll.”
Mulder said political change would allow for the following interventions to rid the country of load-shedding:
- All statutory restrictions that are limiting power generation both within and outside Eskom to be removed.
- Incentives for private power generators.
- Skills as a criterion for appointment and promotion to be reintroduced without racial bias.
- Saboteurs and criminals to be prosecuted actively.
- New capacity needs to be created.
- Capacity to be created for undertaking preventative maintenance.