Pravin Gordhan on cleaning up Eskom

Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan held a press briefing with Eskom management on Thursday, December 6 2018, to address the ills of the country’s power utility. 

Here are some of the issues raised.


South Africans have found themselves in the dark in the past few weeks due to scheduled load-shedding.

Gordhan criticised the power utility for not properly communicating the power outages.

“Eskom does not communicate adequately, and we said so to the management team. Sending out a tweet is not communicating,” he said. 

The minister said the root causes of load-shedding were mainly the condition of the power stations and the maintenance of the plants.

“Eskom has 47,000 megawatts of installed capacity. Its plans to cut down operations, whether as a power station or units within power stations, was supposed to be 7,500 megawatts. Instead, what we’ve had is, in addition to the 7,500, somewhere between 9,000 and 11,000 megawatts of breakdowns. We have potential for 47,000, but can only supply about 26,000.”

Gordhan said some of the problems could be linked to the age of the power plants and investment in maintaining and repairing them, which were previously not done accurately. 

The minister said a “lousy, very old band-aid” had been used to repair some of the plants, which means poor quality. 

“Three units at Medupi and one or two at Khusile should be giving us 7,000 megawatts into the system already. They’re not.”

Gordhan said an internal investigation was being conducted into the “sub-standard” work produced by contractors and technical staff, stressing the need for consequence management.

“Someone has to take the fall for it,” he said. 

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