CEO Phakamani Hadebe took the floor at the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (Nersa) nationwide public hearings, which started in Cape Town on Monday.
“The biggest challenge is the balance sheet of Eskom which deteriorated over time,” he said. Debt which stood at R380bn at the beginning of last year has since grown to over R419bn.
The cost reduction initiatives are not enough to redeem the balance sheet, and Hadebe called for a collective approach, with all South Africans doing their bit to assist. Hadebe said that severe measures will be required by Eskom, South Africans, and the government.
Hadebe also mentioned that the average price of electricity, 89c/kWh is the fifth cheapest in sub-Saharan Africa and that prices had escalated dramatically in the past eight to 10 years.
He acknowledged that Eskom as an entity contributed to the problems it and the country are facing. The problem is such that everyone, the whole country, must work together to solve it, he explained.
“Eskom deserves to apologize. It is compelled to apologize to South Africans for bringing these challenges. They were avoidable.
“All these challenges, load shedding, were built over time. But turning around an institution facing challenges takes time.”
“So we apologize.”