No bailouts, no power


Former Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga has said that the struggling state-owned energy parastatal would not be able continue its operations without receiving constant government bailouts.

According to Eyewitness News (EWN), Maroga made the remark during the annual Power and Electricity Africa Conference in Johannesburg earlier today, saying the failure to have the private sector investing in the struggling utility, could be one of the reasons for the country’s escalating power crisis.

“I think the big issue has always been what the funding strategy is for Eskom. It started when we had to do the new power stations. How will they be funded?” he said

“Will they all be funded through tariffs? Or is it going to be partly shareholder injection? That issue hasn’t been fully resolved. Hence, Eskom has to continuously go through these funding shortfalls”.

Maroga’s comments comes after four senior board members, including CEO Tshediso Matona, were suspended two weeks ago for the worsening crisis, while ratings agency Standard & Poor, last week downgraded the energy supplier to ‘junk’ status.

Yesterday, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) called on Chairperson, Zola Tsotsi, to step down with the union’s spokesperson, Frans Baleni, saying the request was not negotiable.

“For us it is not about what the board says. We have said from the beginning after the announcement that he had been reappointed that that was a wrong appointment. How can a non-executive chairperson commit to a supplier that Eskom will pay a supplier when he does not have such executive authority?” EWN quoted him as saying.

“It is very clear there is unethical conduct from the chairperson or he clearly does not understand good governance where he can actually operate as an executive chairperson, committing Eskom to certain liabilities.”

Eskom has meanwhile indicated that the probability for load-shedding remains medium to high with consumers urged to use electricity sparingly.