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Tackling Load-Shedding: Dan Marokane Takes the Helm as Eskom’s New CEO

Published March 24, 2024
1 months ago

South Africa’s beleaguered power utility, Eskom, has seen a change in leadership as Dan Marokane assumes the role of Group Chief Executive. Tasked with mitigating the ongoing crisis of power supply, Marokane's tenure, which began on March 1, 2024, comes at a pivotal time. His primary mission: to bring an end to the frustrating era of load-shedding and restructure Eskom for sustainable growth.

Energy analyst Professor Hartmut Winkler has weighed in, stating to the SABC that Marokane ought to be allowed to serve his term fully, barring any significant missteps. Marokane's challenge is immense, requiring him to navigate a utility that has become a barometer for the nation's mood toward state management of critical infrastructure. The South African public's expectation for tangible improvement will be a heavy mantle to carry, especially given the outspokenness of his predecessor, Andre de Ruyter, who famously clashed with government officials during his tenure.

Eskom Chairman Mteto Nyati has expressed strong confidence in Marokane and his leadership team's ability to address the utility's current challenges. There is a clear mandate for the new CEO: eradicate load-shedding from the South African experience and position Eskom as an enabler of economic growth. Winkler also highlighted the importance of steadfastness to strategy and described the situation at Eskom as akin to managing a football club, where consistency can spawn success.

Marokane inherits a post that has seen its share of controversies. His predecessor's revelations about government intervention in Eskom’s daily operations and Minister Pravin Gordhan's direct involvement have set a complex stage. Additionally, Gordhan's actions have led to escalated tensions, with Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe accusing the Eskom management of subversive intentions, thus precipitating de Ruyter's resignation in December 2022.

De Ruyter's tenure has been marked by transparency regarding corruption and mismanagement within Eskom, his departure further illuminating the multi-faceted challenges that face his successor. The creation of an Electricity Minister position, to which Kgosientsho Ramokgopa was appointed, was met with skepticism by de Ruyter. He insisted that this added more layers to the decision-making process rather than streamlining Eskom's reporting and management structure.

As Marokane sets forth in his new role, the specter of load-shedding, along with Eskom’s restructuring, looms large. Handling the tricky balance between government policies, public expectations, and the practical realities of managing South Africa's primary electricity provider is a task that has historically proven Sisyphean. Marokane will need to demonstrate leadership that not only confronts these challenges but also navigates them with the resilience and innovation required to change Eskom's course for the better.

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