Brian Molefe

Brian Molefe / File Photo

NUM: ‘Only Brian Molefe has the solution to Eskom problems’

Eskom can only be saved by the power utility’s former CEO Brian Molefe, according to NUM. Have a look at what sparked this statement.

Brian Molefe

Brian Molefe / File Photo

National Mineworkers Union’s (NUM) energy sector coordinator Paris Mashego believes the solution to Eskom’s problems lies in none other than its former controversial CEO Brian Molefe.

Why NUM is betting on Brian Molefe

Mashego went onto eNCA to discuss recent developments that have taken shape around the struggling power utility. Recently, Cabinet issued a directive to have Andre de Ruyter begin his tenure as Eskom CEO much sooner than January 2020.

De Ruyter’s main objective at the helm of the utility is to begin the unbundling process which seeks to separate Eskom into three entities, functioning under one holding company.

It was also announced that the Eskom War Room, headed by Deputy President David Mabuza, would be re-established. Mashego rubbished both developments, stating that Eskom needs electricity, not regressive trends.

“The president, when he was still deputy, was in the war room. David Mabuza is going into the war room again. It looks like it’s just a trend. It doesn’t bring any difference,” Mashego said.

He further explained that above all else, Eskom needs electricity and more reliable means of power generation. In Mashego’s view, Molefe offered pragmatic solutions to the utility’s problems, not these “wishy-washy” plans to revive the war room.

Wasn’t he complicit in bringing Eskom down in the first place?

This despite Molefe being a central figure in allegations of collusion with the Gupta family. His relationship with the notorious family was one of the key reasons behind his booting.

However, Mashego claims that no criminal charges have ever been laid against Molefe and that he is the most eligible candidate to steer things around at Eskom.

“We need a programme of maintaining the plant which was done professionally by Brian Molefe, whose name is tarnished at this point in time. But, he has never been arrested for the wrongs that he has done,” Mashego charged.

The calls from NUM to have Molefe reinstated were echoed by the man himself. Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Independent, Molefe raised concerns with the direction Eskom’s management was taking in addressing issues at the power utility.

“Demand on a typical day is about 26 000MW, and Eskom reported that they had about 12 500MW out on unplanned maintenance, which means breakdowns. That’s very big, where we expect unplanned outages to be limited to about 4 000 and to have a portion of the fleet out on planned maintenance.

“At the moment, there is no planned maintenance. Everything is broken. Everything that is being fixed, is broken without being maintained. It’s a big problem. The energy availability factor, I think it’s about 65% and that is why we have load shedding,” he explained.

Molefe called on those who are against his return to “put all these kangaroo accusations aside and look at the problem that is there”.

He criticised the utility’s management for steering towards Independent Power Producers (IPPs) as an alternative electricity generation tool, claiming that the system was flawed and would not address load shedding.

“They generate electricity, but it cannot be stored. Until the technology to store the electricity has been found in the way that you can store cost-effectively and effectively store the energy so that when you need it – when you load shed at 3am as we have been experiencing now – you can switch on the battery and use solar energy in the middle of the night.

“That is not available. At the moment, solar is not available after sunset. Wind is available when the wind is blowing,” Molefe claimed.