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VENTURES AFRICA – South Africa’s state-owned power utility, Eskom, on Thursday said its CE, Brian Dames, will leave the firm at the end of March next year after 25 years of service.
Zola Tsotsi, the chair of Eskom board, made the formal announcement about Dames’ resignation, with Dames insisting he resigned because of “personal reasons.”
Dames had recently come under pressure following delays at Medupi Power Station which is currently under construction.
Earlier this year, Eskom made public further delays to the commissioning of the first Medupi unit to the second half of 2014.
Additionally, the budget for Medupi coal-fired power station was also increased from R91.2 billion ($8,6bn) to R105 billion ($10bn), exclusive of interest throughout the construction period.
The delays led to South African commentators claiming the country could face another round of national rolling power blackouts soon.
This could have adverse effects on the ruling ANC at the polls next year as the state could be blamed for not injecting enough money into power-generating plants since it came to power almost 20 years ago.
However, Dames, who has been at the helm of the company for the past 36 months, said he had not been under any pressure to quit.
But his surprise resignation comes weeks after the power utility had declared power emergency for the first time in half a decade.
“We have kept the lights on by the skin of our teeth,” Reuters quoted Tsotsi as saying.