Eskom CEO Maroga: Board has not asked me to quit

Eskom’s chief executive officer Jacob Maroga has denied that he was asked to resign by the utility’s board, Talk Radio 702 said on Friday.

Business Day reported on Friday that Maroga had been asked at a board meeting on Thursday to quit his post, after a troubled tenure marked by power shortages.

But Talk Radio 702 said Maroga had declined to be interviewed, but had told the station that no such request had been made of him by the utility’s board of directors.

Maroga was unavailable to comment.

Andrew Etzinger, a spokesperson for the power firm, said he could not confirm the newspaper report, but said an Eskom board meeting had been held on Thursday.

“I don’t know if it’s true or not, I have no information on the story at this stage,” he told Reuters.

Business Day said Maroga came under pressure last month when a group of senior employees sent an anonymous letter to Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan, demanding his removal. Eskom falls under the public enterprises portfolio.

The newspaper said Hogan referred the matter to the Eskom board for investigation.

The newspaper said Maroga has headed Eskom through its most difficult period, characterised by a low reserve margin, rising capital and operating costs and poor handling of coal procurement.

The utility has been rationing electricity since early 2008 when the national grid nearly collapsed, forcing mines and smelters to shut and costing South Africa billions of dollars.

Eskom has also been widely criticised for fuelling inflation after it was granted a tariff increase of 31,3% this year and 27% last year, but the state-owned utility insists it needs to increase prices to pay for its expansion.

The utility has asked the energy regulator to raise electricity tariffs by 45% annually for three years starting next year, to help the power firm fund the expansion of its generation capacity to meet fast-rising demand.—Reuters

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