Eskom chief executive officer Phakamani Hadebe has tendered his resignation and will be leaving the debt-laden power utility at the end of July, deepening a crisis that many has described as the biggest present day threat to the economy.
“It is no secret that this role comes with unimaginable demands which have unfortunately had a negative impact on my health,” the outgoing CEO said in his statement.
At the end of March, Eskom’s debt stood at R440bn and it isn’t selling enough electricity to cover its interest payments and operational costs, according to the company. The utility was at the center of an alleged looting spree that mainly targeted state companies during the ignominious tenure of former president Jacob Zuma.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who, as part of his duties, oversees Eskom, wouldn’t comment on Hadebe’s departure. According to his spokesperson, the issue with regards to the resignation is an issue that is for the board to deal with.
While the resignation may be a negative factor in the short term, as it would likely disrupt the leadership at the power utility, it does provide an opportunity. The newly elected President Ramaphosa and the board will now be tasked with the decision of entrusting the massive job at hand with someone that could potentially address the massive operational and financial issues.