Eskom has shortlisted five candidates for the position of the CEO in the energy company, which is responsible for providing electricity throughout South Africa.

The power utility also plans to seek a 65% energy availability factor (EAF) by March 31, 2024, and 70% by March 31, 2025.

The chairman of Eskom's Board of Directors, Mpho Makwana, addressed the Demand Side Management Indaba in Johannesburg on Monday, and noted that the newly appointed energy executive, Bheki Nxumalo, as the head of generation will ensure stability at Eskom.

"When we rectified the appointment of the head of generation it was in the context of seeing him as the champion that will ensure that we achieve the requisite EAF and by extension achieving the EAF assures us of edging closer to stability in terms ameliorating load shedding," Makwana said, SA News reported.

Nxumalo previously worked in Eskom as the chief executive officer for Eskom Enterprise and Eskom Rotek Industries. Moreover, he has 20 years of experience in the energy sector as he served as general manager at Kusile Power Station and worked at two Eskom power stations as a power station manager.

Makwana further disclosed that Eskom was currently at a stage of the shortlisting process, where they have finalized five names.

"We now have a shortlist of five candidates," he said. "We need to have a conversation about implementing smart metering in our country. ... If we were to implement smart metering it would contribute substantially to the grid's performance."

He continued, "As the board, we are looking at the best practice in the world, we look at the broader energy outlook to get a greater sense of thinking around solving the load shedding problems."

Andre Marinus de Ruyter served as CEO of Eskom from December 2019 to December 2022. Ruyter resigned last year, and suggested there was a high level of corruption in the company.

However, electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa denied the corruption claims last month, and said all problems and challenges were technical in nature.

South Africa has been going through an electricity crisis for over a decade. Currently, the country is facing Stage 6 load shedding.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the Energy Action Plan (EAP) in July to focus on the reduction of load shedding. The plan aims to improve Eskom power stations and then work on bringing "new generating capacity onto the system as quickly as possible."

The president had promised that the electricity minister will visit 14 power stations across the country to learn how improvements can be made, which Ramokgopa completed last month.

He noted there were no quick solutions, but added there was now a "clear path" visible for him to end the load shedding across South Africa.

Ramokgopa also launched the Resource Mobilisation Fund last month to ensure the proper implementation of EAP.

South Africa's Eskom to reduce power cuts but long-term outlook bleak