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Minister Lynne Brown statement at the Eskom Interim Results Briefing

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Minister Lynne Brown statement at the Eskom Interim Results Briefing


The Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Bulelani Magwanishe

Acting Director General of the Department, Ms Matsietsi Mokholo

Chairperson of the Eskom Board, Mr Zola Tsotsi

Members of the Board of Directors

CEO of Eskom, Mr Tshediso Matona

DPE Senior Officials

Executive Management of Eskom

Members of the media

Ladies and gentlemen

Although it is very difficult on occasions like these – and at a time like this in Eskom's history – to avoid being entirely predictable in what one says, I am going to try to do so.

Let me begin by reflecting briefly on an event that took place at the end of the reporting period.

In September, Cabinet approved a package of support measures to set Eskom on the path to financial sustainability.

It is multi-faceted and complex and we will have to climb and move mountains to make it work … but I believe it is the sea change that we have all been looking for.

Its scale and its breadth are a serious match for the challenges which it sets out to overcome. Some of our toughest critics in the ratings agencies are recognising that it has a chance.

For the first time in a while, those with a nuanced understanding of the electricity supply industry are saying that we have a chance of turning this super-tanker around.

That gives me great comfort that this is the beginning of the turnaround … assuming, of course, that we are good at climbing and moving those mountains.

The second of our major challenges is halting and reversing the decline in our generation capacity.

Yesterday, the Eskom leadership and the leading global expert on the subject walked me through the very latest analysis of the road ahead.

This allowed me a glimpse of an early draft plan to halt and reverse the decline. The expert on this matter says there is a reasonable chance of success … assuming that we can climb mountains, of course.

Third, they walked me to the edge of the so-called "coal cliff". Once again, even as a relative newcomer to the possible ways of mitigating this, I am persuaded by the belief that the experts have that there are ways to mitigate and overcome this problem, too … this time assuming, of course, that we stay on top of the mountain.

So why am I filled with optimism?

First, the magnificent spirit of the staff of Majuba I encountered when I visited the power station in the aftermath of the damage.

I had planned to speak to as many staff as possible to keep up morale. Instead, they lifted my morale through the reports on how everyone had performed above and beyond the call of duty to have workable solutions within days. I left Majuba with pride and the knowledge that we have a dedicated workforce which is committed to go the extra mile in the interest of the country. I believe that spirit can lives in all those in Eskom and beyond who will be called upon to make this extraordinary effort we need over the next three to four years.

Second, the magnificent spirit of 2010 which made us as a nation succeed in the face of many influential global nay-sayers.

It has become clear to me that we have to organise the country to attack these problems in the same way.

As in 2010, failure is not an option.

In short, we must become world-class mountaineers.

So watch this space.

And, before you ask, the answer is: No. You will have to wait a while longer before all those plans are fully baked and before you get any more on the subject out of me.

Thank you.

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Page last modified:26/11/2014 12:56