André de Ruyter behind lower load-shedding — economist

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Economist Roelof Botha argues that the current load-shedding respite is a result of André de Ruyter’s work at Eskom.

South Africa has experienced a load-shedding-free April, which continued at the beginning of May.

There are many theories about the uninterrupted power supply, which include that it is an election ploy by the ruling party and that Eskom is burning more diesel.

Botha dismissed these theories, saying Eskom’s improved performance was due to better maintenance implemented under André de Ruyter.

He told Nuuspod that De Ruyter’s plans to do preventative maintenance to avoid unplanned breakdowns are coming to fruition.

He referred to De Ruyter comprehensive maintenance plan, which included general overhauls and midlife overhauls of its ageing coal-powered fleet.

In 2020, shortly after becoming Eskom CEO, De Ruyter described his plans as “short-term pain for long-term gain”.

He promised South Africa that load-shedding would be significantly lower from September 2021. However, what followed was a rapid increase in power cuts.

South Africa experienced the worst load-shedding in history between September 2021 and De Ruyter’s departure in February 2023.

He said he was disappointed they could not make a dent in this unreliable system for more planned maintenance.

“A lot of the planned maintenance that was carried out did not meet our expectations regarding what was done,” he said.

Despite the increased load-shedding under De Ruyter, Botha said the strategy executed under his leadership is to thank for the current load-shedding-free period.

“The government would not admit it, but the origin of the uninterrupted power supply lies with André de Ruyter’s management ability and maintenance plans,” he said.

“At least they had the wisdom to continue down the maintenance road which started under De Ruyter.”

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