Second Member of Eskom Task Team Recuses Herself

By Daiyaan Halim, Field Editor

A second member of the state-owned Eskom Sustainability Task Team, established by President Cyril Ramaphosa, resigned on Thursday.

Sy Gourrah‚ general manager of Actom Power Systems, requested the President to release her from the panel as the company she works for has dealings with Eskom. She is the second member to resign owing to a potential conflict of interest.

Former Eskom CEO Brian Dames, similarly resigned from the task team shortly after its establishment. According to a press statement released by the Presidency in December last year, Dames raised concerns “regarding a perceived conflict of interest relating to the scope of work and terms of reference of the Eskom Sustainability Task Team.”

The appointment of the task team was announced on 14 December 2018. The high-level panel, initially consisting of eight individuals with extensive expertise in electricity, management, and economics, is to advise government on actions to resolve the state-owned utility’s operational, structural, and financial challenges.

Following Gourrah’s resignation, six members remain. According to the Presidency, their work arises from government’s concern that short- to medium-term intervention is necessary in restore the supply-demand balance of the national electricity grid.

Eskom had implemented rolling blackouts across the country in the latter part of last year owing to a shortage in coal reserves, and a need for maintenance at its power plants. Stage 1 load shedding, implemented on 8 December 2018, required 1,000MW of energy to be shed by shutting down parts of the national power distribution system on a rotational basis to protect the power system from a total collapse.