Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says the resignation of Eskom’s Chief Executive Officer Phakamani Hadebe is an unfortunate development amidst the ongoing financial challenges at the power utility.

Eskom announced Hadebe’s resignation in a statement, saying he will conclude his duties at the end of July.

Hadebe says his role at the power utility has taken a toll on his health and he is stepping down in the best interests of Eskom and his family.

Gordhan’s spokesperson Adrian Lackay says the Ministry has been very supportive of Hadebe and his team at Eskom.

“It’s regrettable that Mr Hadebe took the decision to resign. It is a very stressful job but from the side of the ministry we’ve done everything in our power to support Eskom and the board. Ultimately it’s a personal decision he has to make, bearing mind his own career and his career prospects. If he feels the stress is overwhelming that’s a consideration as well but certainly there’s been no issue of the minister or the board not having confidence in his as a CEO. Every effort was made to support him and his management team.”

The Eskom Board has accepted his resignation and praised Hadebe for driving transformation at the cash-strapped power utility.

Eskom’s massive debts that now total well over R400 billion are considered the greatest threat to South Africa’s already fragile economy.