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Former Eskom CEO says he could have turned load shedding situation around

January 15, 2015.Tshediso Matona. CEO Eskom at Power report presentation. Megawatt Park.
January 15, 2015.Tshediso Matona. CEO Eskom at Power report presentation. Megawatt Park.
Image: RUSSELL ROBERTS/FINACIAL MAIL

Former Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona says he believes he could have solved the load shedding issues at Eskom if he had been given the time.

Testifying before the parliamentary inquiry into state capture at Eskom‚ Matona‚ who was CEO for a few months between October 2014 and March 2015‚ said when he arrived at Eskom‚ the entity's major financial issues seemed to be on track following a massive government cash injection.

But he said‚ operational issues‚ and generation needed urgent attention.

During periods of load shedding‚ diesel was being used in Eskom's peaking plants "putting massive pressure on finances".

But‚ he said‚ he and his team had been making "steady gains" in ensuring that the lights stayed on - among them the commissioning of the first power plant at Medupi.

"I'm confident I could have turned it around‚" Matona‚ who has been a public servant since 1994‚ said.

Questioned by EFF MP Floyd Shivambu about the "narrative that this could only be stopped by Brian Molefe"‚ Matona said: "I was confident I could overcome the problem."

He said that while he did not want to take away from Molefe's experience‚ "Brian Molefe could not have done it alone. He arrived at Eskom and found the key‚ the plans and the team fighting this war."

Matona was suspended from Eskom by its new board which was overhauled by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown in December 2014.

Matona said the board he encountered when he arrived had been ravaged by "tension‚ turmoil and infighting". The new board‚ which MPs said had many Gupta-linked members‚ wasted no time in suspending Matona. Matona said the board were still undergoing inductions in January and February and had not yet held a proper board meeting when he was suspended.

He said the suspension took him by surprise and there was little explanation for this.

He approached the Labour Court and had his suspension overturned but the case was referred to the CCMA for arbitration. He said he feared being "bankrupted" by the legal battles‚ and believed he did not "fit" in with the plans the company had‚ so he decided to "leave the sorry and sordid episode behind me and carry on with my life".

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