2,000 Eskom employees gone in a year, but 6,000 more must go to reach 'right size'

SA's power utility said it has about 6,000 more employees than it needs

15 February 2021 - 18:14
By naledi shange AND Naledi Shange
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter: 'We run a large and complex business.'
Image: REUTERS/SUMAYA HISHAM Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter: 'We run a large and complex business.'

Last year alone, 2,000 Eskom employees left the embattled parastatal.

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter made the revelation on Monday as he delivered a virtual address on the power utility’s state of affairs.

De Ruyter said the company had been looking at its fixed and staff costs, and realised that it needed to cut back on its employee costs, which essentially meant reducing staff.

None of those who were released from Eskom’s employ were retrenched, however. De Ruyter said some retired while others took voluntary severance packages.

“We followed the instruction of our shareholders not to engage in forced retrenchments. We are on a path to steadily reduce our headcount over time to maintain a staff cost that we believe is commensurate with the requirements of our very large and complex business that we operate,” he said.

De Ruyter said he was aware of the narrative that Eskom was overstaffed, with some saying it employed twice as many people as it needed. That narrative, he said, was that the power giant could operate with a staff complement of 30,000. He stressed that this was not correct.

After a thorough analysis of Eskom’s requirements to run smoothly, De Ruyter said it needed about 38,000 employees.

“We think that is a right-sized number. We are now at about 44,000,” he said.

He did not immediately give a timeline required to reach the desired number of staff.


PODCAST: A potential game changer in the SA power sector