Is the appointment of the Eskom Sustainability Task Team the way to go?

JOHANNESBURG – The appointment of the Eskom Sustainability Task Team is a positive step towards resolving the problems at Eskom. 

In my opinion, the President is unable to make head or tail from the briefings he receives from Minister Pravin Gordhan.  On the other hand, the Minister is frustrated by the board led by his friend, Jabulani Mabuza whose explanation at the recent press briefing on Eskom’s operational problems could only say something along these lines, “this is a problem for all in South Africa” as if the whole population sits on the board.  

The board is irked by chief executive Phakamani Hadebe and his “management team” who are unable to explain “load shedding” and chaos in Eskom and do not even have a “communication strategy” according to Minister Gordhan. In fact, Hadebe has no idea what he is doing at the utility which is something most people say in the market.  

The deep fear from the public is that Gordhan, Mabuza and Hadebe really should have things sorted out by now, and is it not great and inescapable that President Ramaphosa appointed the Task Team to tell them what they should be doing?  It will be disappointing though if the President has some pre-determined outcomes such as breaking up Eskom or privatising the utility as suggested by some

President Ramaphosa then decided to seek counsel from the public which will be coordinated by the Task Team which must report by the end of January 2019. If the President takes action such as firing the Minister and the board including the chief executive at the end of January, he will justify the decision as the outcome of a legitimate process. The question is whether the Task Team consists of independents and people with no particular interests in Eskom. “Garbage in Garbage out” as they say when they write computer code.

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