Eskom CEO André de Ruyter resigns

Eskom Chief Executive Officer, André de Ruyter, has tendered his resignation from the national power utility.

De Ruyter has been at the helm of the struggling electricity supplier since December 2019 and has seen loadshedding doubled from 530 to over 1600 hours during his tenure.

“It has been an honour and privilege to serve Eskom and South Africa. I wish all the hard working people of Eskom well,” he said on Wednesday, December 14.

The Executive will stay for an additional period beyond the stipulated 30-days’ notice to ensure continuity while we urgently embark on a search for his successor. His last day at Eskom will be on the last day of March next year.

Eskom board chairperson Mpho Makwana said de Ruyter will serve until the end of this financial year.

“On behalf of the Eskom Board, executive and the entire Eskom staff, I thank De Ruyter for his extraordinary service to the people of South Africa. I also thank De Ruyter’s family for supporting the Group Chief Executive during the tumultuous period,” Makwana said.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan thanked de Ruyter for his service to the country.

“André has carried an enormous burden on behalf of South Africa. I want to thank him for his sacrifice and resilience in a difficult job,” Gordhan said.

The news of de Ruyter’s resignation comes about three weeks after Eskom Chief Operating Officer Jan Oberholzer announced that he will be retiring in April next year.

This year, the power utility also accepted the resignations of its long serving head of generation Philip Dukashe, acting head of generation Rhulani Mathebula and also long serving Chief Nuclear Officer Riedewaan Barkadien.

Meanwhile, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises chairperson Khaya Magaxa said the committee noted and welcomes de Ruyter’s resignation.

“The committee appreciates the role Mr de Ruyter played at Eskom and will ever cherish it. However, the committee also recognises that his ability is not stretchable beyond the crisis point the power utility has reached notwithstanding our unwavering support as the committee to him,” he said.

The chairperson and the committee note that de Ruyter has not been able to “resolve the worsening problem of load shedding according to timeframes he had given to the committee” and called for a replacement who will be able to resolve the crippling electricity crisis.

“Eskom requires a replacement which will provide workable and practical solutions to the rising complex problems facing the power utility currently,” Magaxa said.

The mmain opposition party in Parliament, the Democratic Alliance (DA) questioned the motives behind the sudden resignation by De Ruyter.

“Was André de Ruyter’s axing the price Ramaphosa had to pay for the RET faction’s support to save himself from impeachment? The one man standing between greedy cadres and fixing Eskom pushed out to appease the ANC,” said the party’s leader John Steenhuisen.

The DA have called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a ‘ring-fenced’ State of Disaster on Eskom.

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