/ 13 April 2023

Eskom’s transmission company up and running soon, says Makwana

Mpho Makwana
Eskom board chair Mpho Makwana has resigned. (F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Eskom’s transmission company should be up and running by the third quarter of 2023, according to the utility’s board chair Mpho Makwana.

Makwana was speaking on a panel about the country’s energy crisis at the South Africa Investment Conference on Thursday. Once the transmission company is fully operational, he said, it should aid in bringing new players into the energy market, he said.

The unbundling of Eskom into three separate units — transmission, generation and distribution — was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019 during his State of the Nation address. Delays in the utility’s unbundling has attracted widespread criticism, as the intervention is viewed as key to reforming the country’s energy market.

The investment conference, the last in a five year cycle, takes place as South African consumers and businesses endure another bout of stage six load-shedding, which is expected to severely knock the country’s economic growth in 2023. 

The country’s energy crisis will be a key subject at Thursday’s conference, as investor confidence continues to be tested by difficult economic conditions. 

During his opening address, Ramaphosa assured investors that the energy sector remains a foremost priority for his administration. He and other speakers at the conference, including the ANC’s head of economic transformation Mmamoloko Kubayi, underlined the opportunities for investment the country’s energy reforms create.

Last month, presidency official Rudi Dicks told reporters that the licence for Eskom’s transmission company ought to be granted in April after it was put out for public comment by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa). The 30-day period for public comment ended this week.

Eskom applied for the licence last year. Former Eskom chief executive André de Ruyter has criticised the energy regulator for taking too long to act on the unbundling of the utility.