Under the auspices of the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), a group representing the country’s combined engineering disciplines met recently with the Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Pravin Gordhan, to discuss their concerns and potential solutions regarding the strained supply challenges at Eskom.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the operational, engineering, technical capacity and capability challenges the utility is facing as well as the proposed restructuring and its financial viability. At the meeting the engineering fraternity reiterated its commitment to being part of a lasting solution in resolving Eskom’s power generation constraints which, in mid-February, forced the utility once again to implement load-shedding. Over the years the engineering organisations have been instrumental in the design, engineering and building of South Africa’s electricity supply and infrastructure and they are ready to assist in addressing the current challenges.
Following this engagement with the minister, the engineering community has been asked to propose a framework for working with Eskom and the ministry to find solutions in the operational, logistical, systems, maintenance and capital project areas. The professional organisations also expressed their willingness to work with local and external experts to tackle and solve the extensive challenges faced.
The minister, in consultation with ECSA, tasked the CEO of the South Africa Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE), Mr Sicelo Xulu, to present him with their analysis of the challenges facing Eskom and to propose how the South African engineering fraternity could get involved in, and assist, Eskom and the minister to develop a coherent plan to achieve operational stability, effective, suitable maintenance and system resilience in the electricity network.