South Africa-Economy-Corruption

S/Africa’s Eskom enjoys power surplus amid COVID-19

APA-Johannesburg (South Africa)

South Africa’s power utility Eskom is enjoying rare generation surplus but its chief executive warned Friday that it will take a long time for the parastatal to get rid of its heavily entrenched decade-long legacy of state capture (corruption).

Andre de Ruyter said this as he reviewed the utility’s “blessings” of excess power brought about, ironically, by the country’s 21-day coronavirus lockdown which has seen lessened demand for electricity as most companies have closed.

Since President Cyril Ramaphosa's national lockdown announcement  about two weeks ago, the country has not experienced any load-shedding.

"We think we will be able to emerge from this lockdown period with a fleet in which we have better reliability and predictability.

“Having said that, we still have a lot of work to do to catch up with 10 years of neglect that needs to be repaired", he said.

The heavily-indebted Eskom has said it does not expect to implement load-shedding for the duration of the national lockdown, but the power utility has taken advantage of the low power demand to maintain its power stations nationwide, he said.

The embattled power utility has been struggling for years to keep South Africa's lights on due to low power generation stemming from cash outflows to dubious business partners like the fugitive Gupta brothers who are now exiled in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

However, the greatest problem the newly appointed chief executive is facing is to fix the damage done by 10 years of this state capture and the past deeply entrenched corrupt business practices in the state-owned company, De Ruyter said.


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