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2023-03-22 at 13:53 #397424Nat QuinnKeymaster
Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has echoed criticism of André de Ruyter’s at-arms-length management style and rubbished his allegations that ANC corruption caused the problems at Kusile power station.
Ramokgopa was addressing the media during a visit to Kusile on Tuesday.
eNCA journalist Heidi Giokos asked how Eskom had gone from De Ruyter’s dire warnings of higher stages of load-shedding a few weeks ago to a steady improvement in its coal fleet — resulting in load-shedding being suspended over the weekend.
“Well, I’m in direct contact,” Ramokgopa answered.
“I’m here at the power station. So, I don’t make this statement somewhere in Pretoria.”
Ramokgopa said he’s spoken with technical people and management during his visits to power stations.
The minister began a tour of Eskom’s power stations on Monday, starting at Kriel and Duvha.
On Tuesday, he visited Kusile and Kendal. Today, he is visiting Tutuka and Camden.
“This is not a typical politician wearing a suit just having a general conversation,” Ramokgopa continued.
“It’s an engineer engaging in a very robust technical discussion with the other competent engineers. So, we’re confident about our ability to improve the performance.”
De Ruyter’s detractors frequently pointed out that he has no engineering credentials.
He holds an MBA from the Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands, a Bachelor of Law (LLB) from Unisa, and a Bachelor of Civil Law and a BA from the University of Pretoria.
Ramokgopa has a BSc in Civil Engineering from the University of Durban-Westville, a Master of Public Administration from the University of Pretoria, a Master of Business Leadership from Unisa, a Certificate in Executive Development from Stellenbosch, and a PhD in Public Affairs from the University of Pretoria.
Ramakgopa also disputed De Ruyter’s claims that ANC corruption caused the problems at Kusile, saying the issues are purely technical.
However, this is a non sequitur, as De Ruyter alleged that ANC corruption was responsible for Kusile’s technical problems.
To Ramokgopa’s credit, he cautioned that although Eskom’s coal fleet was showing positive signs of recovery, the state-owned power utility wasn’t out of the woods.
“Winter is [going to be] a major hurdle,” he said.
“It’s a function of the weather condition, [and] of us continuing with this upwards momentum.”
Eskom’s improving energy availability factor is also contingent on repaired generating units remaining online.
“One of the biggest problems we have is the unreliability of some of these units because they go into unplanned maintenance [breakdowns], and that’s what can scupper this upward trend line.”
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