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South Africa: Deputy President appoints high profile members to energy council

Posted on Thursday, 19 March 2015 09:50

Addressing parliament on Wednesday afternoon, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the “war room” – which he leads – was appointing members to the energy council.

the uncertainty over power supplies into the future is putting the economy in danger

Former Ashanti Gold boss, Bobby Godsell and Spoornet CEO, Dolly Mokgatle have been appointed to the energy council, which will advise government on a way to solve South Africa’s deepening energy crisis.

Business and government are now pinning their hopes on the “war room” led by Ramaphosa and the newly appointed council.

A representative of labour is still to be appointed, while the respected energy scholar, Anton Eberhard would also serve on the council.

The country’s power utility, Eskom has been plunged into crisis after the shock announcement that several chief executives including the CEO, Tsediso Matona were suspended.

The Confederation of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), which has been vocal in the criticism of Eskom, said the “the seemingly endless crisis at Eskom is a cause of extreme concern to the whole country and the suspension of the CEO and three other executives was just the latest symptom of deep-seated problems to which no solution is in sight”.

Cosatu’s Patric Craven said when the board chairperson, Zola Tsotsi, announced the four suspensions, Cosatu and the National Union of Metalworkers’ general secretary, Frans Baleni said there had been a collapse of governance and that if anyone should have been suspended it was the chairperson of the board himself, given that he has presided over the crisis-ridden Eskom over the past four years.

“While millions of South Africans face the personal hardship of load-shedding, the uncertainty over power supplies into the future is putting the economy in danger of falling further and further away from meeting its already low targets for growth and job creation” said Craven.

Matona, who was only appointed in September 2014, announced the setting up of an independent investigation into the problems at Eskom.

Meanwhile, the African News Agency reported details of the investigation and said it will have a “commercial forensic, a financial forensic and a technical forensic component”.

The commercial leg of the investigation would be headed by Grant Thornton, while two leading auditing firms are being considered for the financial leg.

Cosatu said there was a “desperate” need for a genuinely independent inquiry to provide the country with a full picture of everything that has been happening at the state-owned enterprise, with “no stone unturned and no holy cows protected”.

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