In an exclusive interview with Fin24 and Business Insider SA, the new CEO of Eskom, André de Ruyter said that he will ask Eskom’s board for a mandate to “implement some significant changes” at the embattled utility.
Government need to stop all discriminatory legislation like B-BBEE and EE against whites that the right people can be appointed at all public entities – it is not about colour, but those are discrimination and violation of our human rights. Government need to stop illegals and have to fix our borders and implement border control. Stop the illegal activities, killings, sabotage and terrorism in the country.
Big changes are coming at Eskom – but exactly what they will be depends on a crucial board meeting at the end of this month.At that meeting, says new CEO André de Ruyter, he will be presenting a package of proposals to shake up the ailing utility that, if accepted, “will give us the mandate to implement some significant changes to how we do things”.
De Ruyter also likened Eskom to a bicycle with a chain off, with its cyclist out of the saddle. “What we need to do, and the metaphor I use with the Eskom team, is that we’re a bit like a cyclist running next to the bicycle with the chain off, and when asked why we say, ‘well we’re too busy to put the chain back on’,” he told Fin24.
IS THE CHAIN REALLY OF OR BEEN CAPTURED?
“So we do need to slow down, put the chain back on, so that we can get back into the saddle and start pedalling again”
He also reported a remarkable improvement in the electricity payment rate among Soweto residents, which owe Eskom a collective R20bn in unpaid power bills. “There’s been a lot of good work done in Soweto of late,” De Ruyter said, ascribing the recent change in the rate of payment to political intervention.
No forced retrenchments for now – we can save on diesel
De Ruyter has vowed not to implement forced retrenchments at the beleaguered power utility, saying there is an opportunity to save billions in diesel costs instead. “The president [Cyril Ramaphosa] has been very clear that there will be no forced retrenchments at Eskom, and that mandate is very clear and we will obviously respect that,” he told Fin24. However, he did not rule out voluntary severance packages, saying these would be assessed case by case, depending on the cost versus the benefit. Additionally, he said, natural attrition would contribute to employee numbers trending downwards.
Gordhan: I have confidence in Eskom’s De Ruyter
In an interview with News24’s Pieter du Toit on 21 January 2030 the Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said Eskom remains in critical condition and that De Ruyter will do what’s necessary to investigate and effect repairs to the whole of Eskom’s value and supply chain.
Looking at the nuts and bolts Gordhan explained that he and his team went to see exactly how a power station functions and what is needed to keep it operational. That meant identifying and investigating every part of the supply chain which keeps a power station going.
He worked for Sasol in China and the US
De Ruyter has held various positions in Sasol Mining, Sasol Oil, Sasol Gas and Sasol Synfuels International, and lead the development of Sasol’s synthetic fuel plant in China. He is credited to leading a turnaround project to restore Sasol Olefins and Surfactants to profitability. He also headed Sasol’s North American operations, and was in charge of the initial stages of the eventually ill-fated Lake Charles Chemicals Project.
In response, De Ruyter has shut factories, simplified Nampak’s product lines and sold off some of its interests, including most recently its glass business.
“I look forward to a far simpler business with the ability to unlock value and pursue further growth opportunities in South Africa and Africa,” he told an event at Gordon Institute of Business Science.
De Ruyter has also been pushing the business away from plastic, and towards more sustainable products, including a new “plastic” lid made with sugar cane.
De Ruyter earned more than R18m at Nampak
According to the Nampak annual report, De Ruyter earned almost R18.3m in 2018. His predecessor at Eskom, Phakamani Hadebe earned less than half of that amount last year, and De Ruyter has already agreed to take a pay cut, the department of public enterprises confirmed.
De Ruyter is in charge of packaging everything from cigarettes to Zam-Buk
Nampak is Africa’s largest diversified packaging manufacturer, and has been listed on the JSE for fifty years. It has 25 factories in South Africa, which contributes 60% of its income, as well as 18 sites in the rest of Africa, and 8 in the UK. Nampak has some 5,600 employees – compared to Eskom’s 47,000 workers.
The company provides plastic and carton packaging, as well as canned goods and beverages, which produce the majority of its revenue. It packages a wide range of products, including top cigarette and cold-drink brands, as well as motor oil and a favourite South Africa substance, Zam-Buk, as Business Day recently reported.
Nampak has been going through very tough times, due in part to the weak local economy and struggles in African markets.