South Africa: Race and the Race to Stabilise Eskom


This week Eskom starts interviews to find its 14th chief executive in ten years. The person that will eventually be appointed needs to be appropriately skilled and qualified, have global experience, and capable of executing major infrastructure investments. Race should not at all feature as a precondition for taking Eskom to the next level.

After 25 years of appointing people for the only reason they are black has robbed the whole economy, which did more than anything to reverse the very black economic empowerment and growth it sought to advance.

Eskom's survival, and operational requirements, not politics, should be the only thing that occupies the board, and the minister of public enterprises, when making the appointment. If that happens, Eskom may just have a good chance of stopping the revolving doors at Megawatt Park, and put in place measures to ensure the next capital investment phase is smoother and more efficient than the current one.

It was a hot and sunny Limpopo day on 07 August 2007 when Jacob Maroga turned the sod to start the R70 billion construction of the Medupi power station in what was still Ellisras town. In the 12 intervening years, twelve other Eskom chief executives...

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