The African National Congress (ANC) has called on the Eskom board to support the newly-appointed interim board chairperson Professor Malegapuru Makgoba in implementing a comprehensive turnaround strategy for the struggling power utility.

Makgoba’s appointment comes after Jabu Mabuza’s resignation last week. Mabuza’s departure followed his apology for the power utility’s inability to meet the commitment it made to President Cyril Ramaphosa in December to avoid load shedding during the holiday period.

Last week Ramaphosa announced that the Eskom board would be reconfigured.

“Well, I don’t think the issue would be whether the Professor would be able to do the work or not because we must point it to the collective board members who are there to support the Prof and make sure that immediate short term turnaround strategies that are put in place are implemented. The most important thing, the critical thing, is the plan,” says ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.

Public Enterprises spokesperson Sam Mkokeli says the appointment of Professor Makgoba was an urgent process. Mkokeli, however, says government wants to make sure that legal and administrative processes are followed.

Meanwhile, Eskom has denied receiving a memorandum from the unions that held a lunchtime picket at its head offices earlier today.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) earlier confirmed handing over a memorandum to Eskom management at Megawatt Park in Sunninghill, Johannesburg.

The unions say the memorandum is marked for the attention of new Chief Executive Officer Andre De Ruyter which among other things demands that labour be represented on the Eskom board and executive in order to participate in the decision-making processes.

Other demands include the immediate halting of the planned unbundling and restructuring of the power utility into three separate entities as well as an end to all of Eskom’s contracts with Independent Power Producers. Eskom spokesperson Dikatso Mothae says they did not receive any memorandum.

“Eskom can confirm that we did not receive a memorandum from the unions during their picket earlier today (Wednesday). ”

However, Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola is adamant that they handed over a memorandum to Eskom management.

“What we demanded in the memorandum which we handed to management was the following;  we demanded that they must immediately cancel the IPP’s (Independent Power Producers), an immediate intervention into the cost of coal, we reject the appointment of new CEO De Ruyter, the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises must be fired, the board must immediately be removed. “