2 power station managers suspended for being apathetic about loadshedding

Eskom says there is an urgent need for 'culture change and high-level competence enhancement' at the utility.

Electricity utility Eskom last week announced the suspension of two power station managers because of the continuing blackouts, which the Board believes are partly driven by a lack of commitment on the part of some senior managers. Eskom released a statement on Friday in which it stated that the level of power failures is unacceptably high. 

“Whilst it is true that the ageing fleet is plagued by legacy issues of neglect and omitted maintenance and is therefore susceptible to unpredictable breakdowns, it is also true that the situation is exacerbated by serious issues of apathetic behaviour by some management staff,” Eskom said.

“It is for this reason that the Board has come out strongly in support of Group Chief Executive (GCE), Mr André de Ruyter, in his action yesterday morning of summarily suspending the Tutuka and Kendal power station managers pending disciplinary inquiries. Further interventions are ongoing at the Kriel and Duvha power stations.”

Eskom said it would continue to engage with other power station managers to ensure that the previous culture of weak consequence management will no longer be the norm and will no longer be tolerated at Eskom. 

“The Executive has, in the meantime, deployed three senior Generation managers to the sites in question (Duvha, Kriel, Tutuka and Kendal power stations) to provide leadership and oversight in person.”

The Board and executives are fully cognisant of the substantial strain that loadshedding exerts on the wellbeing of citizens, on an already depressed economy and are committed to attaining sustainability and reliability of the Eskom generation plant. The Board and Executive Management have met twice in the past two days, with the Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Pravin Gordhan, to interrogate the systemic causes of the loadshedding and the measures being taken to repair breakdowns.

“In these meetings, it has been agreed that an urgent culture change and high-level competence enhancement across all 44 000 staff, which the GCE began upon his arrival, should be accelerated, promoted and strongly supported.”