Eskom nuclear chief Riedewaan Bakardien

Eskom has already moved to replace it’s long-serving nuclear chief – Image via Adobe Stock

Nuclear chief DITCHES Eskom after 27 years – to go and work in Canada

Eskom’s top nuclear chief, Riedewaan Bakardien, is heading for pastures new overseas – leaving the utility with a huge gap to fill.

Eskom nuclear chief Riedewaan Bakardien

Eskom has already moved to replace it’s long-serving nuclear chief – Image via Adobe Stock

South Africa’s brain drain fears have been realised in dramatic fashion this week, after one of Eskom’s most senior representatives decided to call time on his career at Eskom. Riedewaan Bakardien will now head to Canada, to go and work for a North American nuclear facility.

Eskom nuclear chief quits role for job in Canada

The bombshell was shared during Eskom’s press briefing earlier today. Amongst other things, Jan Oberholzer revealed that load shedding could come to an end by ‘late next week’, and several units have been delayed from returning to service due to recent strike action.

However, buried in the details was this rather high-profile departure. Bakardien served as the Chief Nuclear Officer for Eskom for 27 years, and losing someone with his vast experience during a time of crisis doesn’t seem to be too promising for the ailing firm.

Managerial merry-go-round: Big changes made at the top

The resignation now means that Eskom have to shuffle their pack, while battling against crippling power shortages that have made the winter miserable for millions of South Africans. With Bakardien heading overseas, the following changes have been made.

  • Keith Featherstone will become Eskom’s new Chief Nuclear Officer, bringing 30 years of management experience to the table.
  • Koeberg Power Station General Manager (PSGM) Nomawethu Mtwebana is also heading abroad – on a ‘reverse loan’ deal for the next year.
  • Ms. Mtwebana is temporarily joining the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), based in the USA.
  • The new PSGM will be Mahesh Valaitham, who has been a senior figure in SA power stations for the past three decades.
  • Featherstone and Valaitham will both serve in an ‘acting capacity’.

Eskom nuclear chief exit sparks brain drain fears

Riedewaan Bakardien has since posted a brief farewell statement, citing some of the achievements he is most proud of. The outgoing nuclear chief said his decision to resign ‘was not an easy one’.

“As the only nuclear power station in Africa, we have played a key role in keeping the plant safe, and making sure it is the best place to work. The decision to resign, therefore, by no means an easy one to make.”

Riedewaan Bakardien

You can see the full statement from Eskom on their recent leadership changes here: