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Industry nonprofit the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) welcomes the "overdue reconstitution of the Eskom board" and says "the new board seems complete and well balanced in terms of its skills and experience".
The previous board was "heavily handicapped" with a number of vacancies, which severely affected its skill sets and, thereby, added an enormous task to the existing directors, it adds.
The EIUG acknowledges that the new directors face enormous and challenging tasks of turning around Eskom’s operational performance and achieving financial sustainability while remodelling the organisation for its future positioning.
"One of the necessary actions is to evaluate the management structure for its suitability for the task ahead. The capacity of management to execute agreed plans is critical for the board to achieve its mandate.
"Execution, however, is not only about management, but also about retaining and galvanising the existing expertise within Eskom and empowering employees for the task at hand, while expediting the recruitment of additional expertise," the organisation highlights.
The board also has to take into account that, at stake is not only Eskom, but the industry and the economy and, hence, there is a need to work with other stakeholders.
"As stakeholders, however, we also need to acknowledge that that these directors have accepted this national interest challenge fully knowing the enormity of the task and that their failure may have a detrimental effect on their career reputation. We believe the government and the rest of the stakeholders need to give the board space to do what has to be done to save and reposition Eskom," the EIUG says.
Meanwhile, the organisation says each director seems to offer unique solid skills and experiences, which cover strong boardroom experience, Eskom institutional and operational experience, consumer perspective, turnaround and change management experience, public policy and State-owned enterprise restructuring experiences, labour perspective as well as the information and communications technology transformation experience.
This is over and above equally impressive skills in the fields of engineering, finance, human resources, law and information and communications technology, it adds.
"Equally important, in the light of the seemingly challenging execution of the Koeberg life extension, is the addition of nuclear experience in the boardroom that will hopefully bring a closer oversight of this important project. The EIUG wishes this board success in the task ahead and pledges support for turning around Eskom’s fortunes for the benefit of our economy, our country and its citizens."
Business organisation Business Unity South Africa (Busa) also welcomes the appointment of the new Eskom board.
"We are very happy with the mix of relevant skills and expertise on the board. We have been calling for a board that has the appropriate skills and expertise to provide strategic guidance and direction to the executive, and to hold the executive to account," Busa CEO Cas Coovadia says.
Busa says the appointment of this board is an important step in the right direction to ameliorate the immediate load-shedding crisis, as well as to guide Eskom's role in implementing the President's energy plan.
"We believe this board, together with the executive will instil confidence that Eskom will address the critical issues it needs to and play a part in developing an appropriate energy infrastructure in South Africa. We request government to give the new board and executive the space to work with urgency on addressing the current crisis and stabilising Eskom over the medium to long term.
"Busa stands ready to play its role in facilitating private sector participation in this critical area," he adds.
Additionally, industry body the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) welcomes the appointment of the new board of directors of Eskom as "a new horizon for the deployment of solar PV", noting that it faces the mammoth task of dealing with the current energy challenges and securing the future of an inclusive and sustainable energy supply for the country.
Eskom’s new leadership showcases the diverse expertise of experienced engineers, especially in renewable energy, the association adds.
“As the representative body for the South African Solar community, we stand ready for the wide-spread deployment of renewable energy.
“We encourage the new board to prioritise transmission and connection capacity constraints to enable the increased rapid uptake of renewable energy onto the grid,” the association emphasises.
Solar PV technology can alleviate the pressure of the current energy security challenges as it can contribute to generation capacity and be connected to the grid timeously and across all scales, says SAPVIA CEO Dr Rethabile Melamu.
“The new board should, therefore, incentivise the adoption of household solar systems to ease demand from the utility. We also encourage the board to work alongside industry stakeholders for the speedy roll-out of utility-scale projects.
“We avail ourselves, as the representative body for the solar PV industry, to assist in the transition of a new energy paradigm,” she concludes.