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

Eskom, the country's struggling utility firm, announced on Sunday that there will be no load shedding until Friday at 4:00 p.m. across South Africa.

The relaxation in load shedding came two weeks after Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said South Africans can expect decreased load shedding, as the country received the first consignment of energy equipment from China.

"Due to consistent improvement in available generating capacity, load shedding will remain suspended until 4 pm on Friday. Eskom will closely monitor the power system and communicate should any significant changes occur," SA News reported.

South Africa received its first consignment of energy equipment, donated by China, on Nov. 30. South Africa and China are both members of the BRICS group, which also includes Brazil, Russia and India.

Meanwhile, acting chief executive officer Calib Cassim -- who took over Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter's role last year -- will continue his service till end of this year until new CEO Dan Marokane assumes office next year.

"I am looking forward to continue contributing to the collective efforts of placing Eskom on a path to sustainability through the implementation of our turnaround plans," Cassim said. "I want to thank the Board and Shareholder Ministry for creating an enabling environment for me to contribute to the turnaround of Eskom."

"Eskom has exceptional talent that look to us to provide leadership. With Dan Marokane joining, we have the best shot at creating the future we want for Eskom," he added.

Cassim also thanked Martin Buys for acting as Eskom's chief financial officer and doing an excellent job, showing his leadership and dedication. Cassim said Buys will continue his position until he takes over the role.

"Importantly, I am grateful for the support received from EXCO and the employees," Cassim said.

Mteto Nyati, Eskom board chairperson, praised Cassim for doing an "excellent job in holding the fort," adding that when Marokane's appointment was announced, it was well-received by the top 400 senior leaders of Eskom.

"Firstly, they were delighted that Dan Marokane had chosen to rejoin Eskom. His appointment was well received. Secondly, they expressed a deep sense of appreciation to Calib Cassim for serving the company well," Nyati said.

Marokane, currently serving as the CEO of the cane sugar refining company, Tongaat Hulett, previously worked as Eskom's head of group capital.

The search for the new Eskom CEO started last year when the former CEO Ruyter resigned abruptly from his post in February 2022 and alleged that members of the energy company were involved in corruption.

Calib Cassim, former Eskom chief financial officer, took over de Ruyter's position temporarily until a new CEO was appointed.

"His (Cassim's) interim leadership brought sustainability to the organization. As the Eskom Board, we are counting on his passion for Eskom and are pleased to have retained him as CFO," Nyati said.