Eskom’s André de Ruyter wants “greater support from law enforcement authorities to see more people in orange overalls”
Eskom Group Chief Executive André de Ruyter says the utility “would have liked to see greater support from law enforcement authorities to see more people in orange overalls” as the organisation is clamping down on corruption.
During Tuesday morning’s Enlit Africa keynote opening session, Mr de Ruyter gave an exclusive update on the progress that is being made on the five-point turnaround plan for South Africa’s national utility, stating that they are “holding people accountable” and were making progress “from a corruption perspective and a consequence management perspective: We have seen some Eskom employees being disciplined, being arrested, money being attached and forfeited to the state, people that we have caught for engaging in corrupt activities. Have we won the war as yet? No. But I think more and more the signal is getting out to those miscreants who are seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of South Africa and Eskom, that crime doesn't pay, and that we will get them in the end.”
The Eskom five-point recovery plan includes achieving operational stability, improving income statements, strengthening the balance sheet, embarking on organisational restructuring and improving the culture.
Eskom sales have recovered
In a frank conversation with Enlit Africa’s content director, Claire Volkwyn, de Ruyter said operationally, the organisation was also doing better: “It's a new initiative, so visible, feeling leadership boots on the floor. We are insisting that our power station managers don't manage from behind the desk, but rather go out and lead from the front.”
The Eskom GCE further reported that from an income statement perspective, the utility was making good progress. “Sales have recovered remarkably well. After the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a big decrease in our sales over the last financial year. But this year to date, I have to say that sales have recovered very strongly, which is a good sign for the economy overall. So demand is strong.”
Africa’s energy transition: Eskom’s share in emissions
Enlit Africa has a strong focus on the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), taking place in Scotland in November, and de Ruyter also addressed Africa’s energy transition and the role that Eskom is expected to play in what many feel should be a ‘just energy transition,’ considering, in particular, how the coal industry will be affected.
“As Eskom”, he explained, “we are responsible for about 25% of African carbon emissions; so, we are a very significant contributor to the carbon footprint of the continent. If we are able to show the way to a cleaner and greener energy future, I think there's a real opportunity for us to demonstrate that.”
Formerly known as African Utility Week, Enlit Africa is providing practical solutions to prepare the continent for a NetZero reality. The programme looks at various ways to achieve this; from LNG as a transitional energy source, municipal energy independence, e-mobility, and how Africa is preparing for, and what it is expecting from, the COP26 summit.\
Africa is ready to go into action
“For all of Africa, it is important that we start with a clear signal to the world that we are ready to start the implementation of the Paris Agreement, we are ready to go into action,” was the declaration this morning of Tanguy Gahouma-Bekale, chairman of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change, who will represent the continent’s 56 nations at COP26 in Scotland next month.
As part of the Enlit Africa keynote session, the Gabonese climate negotiator explained Africa’s position at the climate conference, saying the continent is not responsible for the current situation: “Even if reducing emissions is very important, we also need to be clear and say to the world that Africa has very low emissions, but we already feel climate change in our towns and in our cities. For us, it's to help us to fight against all the consequences of climate change.”
He added: “For Africa, the two priorities are really to stop the rise of emissions, because today, we are really far from the 1.5 °C or the 2 °C, which are the targets of the Paris Agreement. All the NDCs (nationally determined contributions) already released this year, prove that we will continue to emit 10% more in 10 years; but we need to reduce that by 40% in 10 years, as we cannot deal with that in Africa where we are already facing some amazing disasters.”
During Tuesday morning’s last keynote discussion, the African Development Bank’s Haruperi Mumbengegwi, a legal expert in the power sector, and Faith Odongo, Senior Deputy Director of Renewable Energy at the Kenyan Ministry of Energy, discussed how COP26 could provide the launchpad for Africa’s energy transition, including efforts by the Kenyan government to support sustainable energy and address issues around clean cooking.
Further Enlit Africa (live) session highlights until Thursday, 28 October include:
- To LNG or not: is that the question?
- Meike Wetsch, Unit Head: Capital Funding Office, Coega Development Corporation, South Africa
- Jarrad Wright, Independent Energy Analyst, South Africa
- Adrian Strydom, Executive Director, SA Oil and Gas Alliance, South Africa
- Heading to COP26 - Has the pandemic derailed the climate finance agenda?
Moderator: Roland Nkwain Ngam, Programme Manager: Climate Justice and Socio-Ecological Transformation, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, South Africa
- Joan Chahenza, Director: Energy Access Financial Advisory, AMDA, Kenya
- Patrick K. Tonui, Head of Policy and Regional Strategy, GOGLA, The Netherlands
- Vally Padayachee, Strategic Advisor, AMEU, South Africa
- Barbara O’Neill, Grid Integration Manager: NREL, representing Global Power Systems Consortium, US
- Digital equity: Ensuring that digital advances are equitable and just
- Josephine Miliza, Africa regional coordinator (KICTANet implementer), community networks project, Association for Progressive Communications, Kenya
- Faith Keza, CEO, Irembo, Rwanda
- Yolande Tabo, Investor Relations Manager, Convergence Partners, South Africa
- Onica Makwakwa, Head of Africa Region, Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), World Wide Web Foundation, South Africa
- Focus on Water: Plugging the municipal revenue leak
Moderator: Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl, Editor, ESI Africa
- Konstant Bruinette, Senior Deal Originator, Development Bank of Southern Africa, South Africa
- Sydney Masha, Civil Engineer, Ethekwini Water and Sanitation, South Africa
- Siphindile Sikhosana, Senior Manager: Metering and Revenue, Joburg Water, South Africa
Power & Energy Elites
Formerly known around the continent as African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa, Enlit Africa has been connecting the utility industry on the continent for more than two decades. October’s digital edition is a precursor in the lead-up to the hybrid event in Cape Town in June next year.
In tune with this year’s theme, leading power and event media partner ESI Africa will highlight the leaders and projects nominated to the African Power & Energy Elites annual publication. During this edition of Enlit Africa, the nominees for who will ultimately appear in the 2022 edition of the Elites publication will be announced.
Enlit Africa’s successful transition to digital
The fast-growing attendee numbers and feedback from participants and partners fully support the remarkable and successful transition that the organisers of the event have made from in-person events to providing a digital forum for the industry to connect via live, online events on the Enlit Africa-Connect platform.
The June edition of the event, the third in the last 18 months, attracted more than 5,000 registered attendees, representing more than 70 countries and featuring 50 speakers.
All the previous Enlit Africa sessions remain available on demand on the event platform. For access, register on the Enlit Africa-Connect platform by clicking here.
Eskom, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and the City of Cape Town have been official hosting partners of the event for many years and 2021 is no exception.
ESI Africa, the continent’s leading news provider for power and energy news, is the official host publication.
Enlit Africa event is organised by The Vuka Group (formerly Clarion Events Africa), a leading Cape Town-based and multi-award-winning organiser of exhibitions, conferences and digital events across the continent in the infrastructure, energy, mining, mobility, ecommerce and CX sectors. Other well-known events by The Vuka Group include Africa Mining Forum, DRC Mining Week, Nigeria Mining Week, Smarter Mobility Africa, ECOM and CEM Africa.
Enlit Africa dates and venues:
Digital Event: 26–28 October 2021
Next in-person conference and exhibition: 7–9 June 2022
Venue: CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa