‘If useless was a person’: Malema takes dig at Eskom CEO André de Ruyter

29 March 2021 - 12:26
EFF leader Julius Malema took aim at the CEO of SA's power utility. File photo.
EFF leader Julius Malema took aim at the CEO of SA's power utility. File photo.

EFF leader Julius Malema has criticised Eskom CEO André de Ruyter, suggesting he is “useless” at his job.

Malema’s dig at de Ruyter comes after a Sunday Times opinion piece questioned his role at the embattled power utility.

The piece slammed De Ruyter for lacking in his abilities at the power utility, saying if he was black he would have been on his way out.

Taking to Twitter, Malema echoed the statement in the piece.

“If useless was a person,” he captioned a picture of De Ruyter.

De Ruyter was appointed Eskom CEO last year, taking over from Phakamani Hadebe after he resigned in 2019.

Since his appointment, he has faced historical challenges  at the power utility, including including financial short-falls, a restructuring crisis  and load-shedding

The loss-making utility has a debt of more than R460bn and is struggling to fix ageing power stations and correct defects in new ones.

Sunday Times reported the restructuring crisis at Eskom was  due to a complex set of factors. These include an inappropriate tariff regime in the 1980s and 1990s, policy indecision in the post-apartheid era, bad infrastructure planning and poor project and human resource management.

Earlier this month, De Ruyter was criticised for warning South Africans to expect another five years of load-shedding as the country faced a shortfall of 4,000 megawatts.

He said old power stations were the main reason for the blackouts and the shortfall could increase if the economy continued to grow.

“Capacity challenges will remain one of the challenges we have to grapple with in SA as most of our power stations are reaching the end of their useful lives after a hard life and being operated for an extended period of time well above international utilisation factors.

“This is further compounded by deferred maintenance and results in our power stations being unreliable and unpredictable,” he said at the time.