Solidarity supplies list of 300 energy experts to Eskom. to help stabilize

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Solidarity has issued a list of skilled energy experts to Minister Pravin Gordhan and Eskom CEO André de Ruyter in response to a request from the former to prepare such a list to deal with the crisis in Eskom.

The union said about 300 experts on its shortlist have about 5,500 years of combined industry experience, and more than 400 accredited qualifications, of which 14 have doctorates in engineering and related fields.

“This list includes some of the country’s foremost experts on power. We are amazed not only by the wealth of expertise and knowledge these individuals provide, but also by their willingness and eagerness to tackle the power crisis in South Africa,” said Solidarity chief executive Dr Dirk Hermann.

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“Among them are many people who work as certified international project managers, as well as internationally sought-after specialists in their field.”

The union wrote to Gordhan in May 2022, offering to assist with the lack of institutional knowledge and experience affecting the operation of the Eskom power plant.

Replying to Solidarity in July, Gordhan asked the union to draw up a list of engineers and other workers to solve the company’s skills shortage.

The minister said the utility needed power plant engineers with electrical, maintenance, mechanical, nuclear and systems skills, in addition to coal and nuclear power plant operators and senior craftsmen.

The state electric utility was plagued by blackouts in 2022 and is on track to hit its worst year of power outages.

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Solidarity said it was inundated with more than a thousand requests from various experts and former Eskom employees, but that in consultation with specialists and based on the most pressing issues at Eskom, it shortened the list.

“Right now, the biggest problem area in our power grid is generation, and for this reason, the largest percentage (about 70%) of the experts on our list are involved in generation, while 16% may be involved in distribution, 6% in transmission and about 8% of the experts offer commercial, management and other skills,” Hermann said.

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Solidarity said the specialists it represents have the knowledge and skills to stabilize Eskom. “It is of the utmost importance that all stakeholders join in and recognize the magnitude of the crisis,” said Solidarity.

“The current crisis in Eskom, which is causing suffering for all South Africans and threatening our entire economy, is too massive for one party, including the state, to solve alone. A well-functioning Eskom is critical, both for employees within the organization and for employees throughout the South African economy. The government is now being pressured to muster the necessary political will to enable these experts to rescue Eskom,” Hermann said.


Read: Eskom meets 70 private institutions on electricity crisis

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