Eskom in dire straits, portending years-long blackouts in South Africa

By Ray Mwareya
Posted on Thursday, 17 November 2022 17:15, updated on Friday, 18 November 2022 09:48

FILE PHOTO: Maria Modiba cooks by a candlelight during one of the frequent power outages from South African utility Eskom in Soweto, South Africa November 11, 2022. REUTERS

The situation at Eskom, South Africa’s giant power utility, has become dire as executives quit the firm. Years – not just months – of blackouts loom; gas turbines gobble ZAR11.2bn ($680m), while broke municipalities fail to settle ZAR 50bn ($3bn) in bills.

“Eskom has lost the competency to operate and maintain its power station assets,” Matshela Koko, who was Eskom’s CEO between 2016 and 2017, tells the Africa Report, voicing his fears that the company now “relies on emergency gas turbines to keep lights on”.  

Koko was arrested on corruption charges related to his time at Eskom in late October.