South Africa’s Eskom chair resigns after power cuts during holidays

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The chairman of struggling South African state-owned utility Eskom, Jabu Mabuza (pictured), resigned on Friday after apologising for failing to halt power cuts over the Christmas and New Year public holidays, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said.

Eskom implemented severe nationwide power cuts in several bursts last year and again sporadically this week, despite low electricity demand as many businesses and factories were closed for the holidays.

Eskom officials had told Ramaphosa at a meeting at the company’s headquarters in Johannesburg yesterday that there would be no power cuts from mid-December until mid-January.

“In the wake of Mr Mabuza’s resignation, government will soon announce a re-configured Eskom board with the appropriate mix of electricity industry, engineering and corporate governance experience,” Ramaphosa’s office said in a statement.

The power cuts implemented by Eskom dented economic output last year and sapped investor confidence in Ramaphosa’s efforts to turn around Africa’s most industrialised economy. Eskom supplies more than 90 per cent of the country’s power, but repeated faults at its creaking fleet of coal-fired power plants mean it struggles to meet demand.

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