The Department of Energy will oversee Eskom, Ramaphosa says


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the energy department would take responsibility for overseeing state utility Eskom, which has failed to meet the country’s energy demand since 2008.

The change will be in line with a resolution adopted by the African National Congress government at its national conference last week, which specified that state-owned enterprises operating in specific economic sectors should be supervised by relevant government departments. This could signal a dissolution of the Department of Public Enterprises, which oversees Eskom, logistics company Transnet and several other entities.

“It is a clear mandate from the conference,” Ramaphosa told reporters at a media event in Johannesburg on Monday.

“The resolution will be implemented,” and the government will decide how and when it will be done, he said.

Eskom, which supplies more than 90% of South Africa’s electricity, has been at the epicenter of a national energy crisis, with its old and poorly maintained plants unable to generate enough power to meet demand. It subjected the country to a record 205 days of blackouts last year, which slowed economic growth and investment.

The government has already announced plans to split the century-old company into three units and take over some of its debt in an attempt to make it financially sustainable.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has prioritized anti-corruption measures at Eskom and defended outgoing CEO Andre De Ruyter. A change in the company’s oversight may raise concerns among some investors, as Gwede Mantashe, the energy minister, has opposed plans to transition the economy to green energy – though Ramaphosa is championing do it – and has criticized De Ruyter’s performance out loud. . .

Several previous resolutions adopted years ago by the ANC are still ongoing, and Ramaphosa warned that the party’s latest policy decisions will take time to implement.

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