Eskom chair Jabu Mabuza unexpectedly resigned on Friday, president Cyril Ramaphosa announced.
“In his resignation letter, Mabuza apologised for Eskom’s inability to meet the commitment it made to the president, the deputy president and the relevant ministers at a meeting on 11 December 2019 to avoid load shedding over this period,” the presidency said in a statement.
Rampahosa commended Mabuza for taking responsibility and accepting accountability for events under his leadership.
On Wednesday, deputy president David Mabuza said Ramaphosa was misled when he was told there would be no load shedding before the January 13.
Instead, South Africa has been hit by daily load shedding for the past week.
Eskom has not managed to keep unplanned breakdowns at below 9,500MW – the level at which it is forced to consider loadshedding – for a single day since December 4, 2019.
Unexpected bouts of loadshedding in January – a time of low electricity demand – was triggered by the failure of a conveyor belt feeding coal from Exxaro’s Grootegeluk mine to the Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo.
The 7km-long coal conveyor belt is supposed to transport 4,000 tons of coal per hour to Medupi. The belt first started giving problems in October, when the tail-end of the belt suddenly snapped and twisted, with the weight of the coal damaging the machine.