Nkosi faces a daunting task at EDI

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Duma Nkosi is already feeling the pressure of his new position as EDI Holdings chairman and he hasn't even attended the first board meeting yet.

Nkosi was appointed in December last year but his job started in earnest last month.

His first board meeting is scheduled for later this month.

The former Ekurhuleni executive mayor feels his experience in provincial and local government has prepared him perfectly for the monumental task of restructuring South Africa's electricity supply system.

Since 1994 government has been struggling to address the country's outdated, disparate network of electricity supply institutions.

In March 2003, EDI Holdings was established by the Department of Minerals and Energy for the sole purpose of facilitating the restructuring of the national electricity distribution industry.

In any given region electricity is provided either by Eskom or by the municipality creating varied billing systems, tariffs, availability of supply and wastage of resources, according to Nkosi.

The process that EDI is currently busy with is to consolidate the various municipalities and Eskom's resources into six regional electricity distributors (REDs) nationally.

This will do away with the various local power producers, including Eskom, and bring them under one management system.

"I can already feel the weight of the task and I haven't even begun the real work," he said.

"We have a chief executive officer who's doing the ground work, but I'll be more supportive as a facilitator ensuring that the board looks at important issues and that relevant decisions are taken.

"We want to ensure [that] the process is agreed to by everyone involved and implementation takes place. It's a stakeholder board, and there are very diverse stakeholder interests that could create tension."

Nkosi said there would be a change in employment conditions, but that people wouldn't lose their jobs considering the massive amount of infrastructure development currently under way.