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Eskom: Solidarity hatch a plan to get skilled engineers back at the helm

A suspected brain-drain has been blamed for Eskom’s recent woes. Now, trade union Solidarity are offering to help out with this nightmare.


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Trade union group Solidarity have come up with a plot to help get some of Eskom’s former technicians back in the saddle. They have set up an application page on their website, in order to create a “skills database” for the ailing utility giant.

The country was crippled by load shedding last week, as the firm failed to keep the lights on due to several operational challenges. The subsequent post-mortem has found that the new power stations aren’t working to their full potential, and the old ones are crumbling due to poor maintenance.

Solidarity take on the Eskom mantle

This encouraged Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to leave the door open for former engineering executives to return to the company, admitting it was a “bad idea” to release so many industry professionals during Eskom’s restructure. That open door has been ripped off its hinges by Solidarity, who are ready to lure those workers back.

“Solidarity wants to step in to ensure South Africa’s lights stay on. We want to furnish Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan with a database of scarce skills that exist among Eskom’s former workforce. We ask all former Eskom employees who want to make sure the lights stay on and that South Africa does not plunge into darkness to contact us.”


A “race-obsession” with Eskom

Over the weekend, Deputy Secretary General Dirk Hermann told Cape Talk that the power giant were responsible for creating their own brain-drain since the 1990s. He claimed that the outfit have a “long history of getting rid of the most skilled people”, suggesting that Eskom have an obsession with race-related quotas.

“There is a long history of Eskom getting rid of the most skilled people and one must confront that specific reality. The problem here is that we had, in a very short period of time, lost a lot of skill and institutional memory and that led to a shock in Eskom and I think we are still paying for that loss of institutional memory.”

Dirk Hermann

Commission of inquiry

The so-called “knowledge bank” comes with a caveat: Solidarity want their help to be rewarded with a commission of an inquiry into the atrocious mismanagement at Eskom. They have also stated “not one more skilled worker” can be fired, as the SOE does everything it can to avoid more blackouts.