In a surprise announcement, Eskom said that the utility and its former chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer would “part ways by mutual agreement”. Last month, Eskom confirmed that it had signed a two-year contract with Oberholzer to oversee key projects at coal-fired power station Kusile and nuclear power plant Koeberg.
Oberholzer officially retired in April this year, with the board saying it planned to scrap the position of COO upon his departure. His retirement followed the contentious exit of former chief executive officer André de Ruyter. Eskom’s acting group CEO Calib Cassim said he had appointed Oberholzer on a contract basis to oversee the completion of the critical projects at Kusile and Koeberg.
Earlier on Monday, Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said he was “very, very worried” that the Koeberg refurbishment had fallen behind schedule, which will result in higher stages of load shedding continuing into 2024. Koeberg is undergoing an extension of life, which involves the replacement of all the steam generators in both units. Ramokgopa said if the outages of the two units overlapped, it would cause “a huge dent” in Eskom’s generating capacity.
Oberholzer worked for the utility for more than 30 years. “Eskom expresses gratitude to Mr Jan Oberholzer for his dedicated service, expertise and valuable contributions during his tenure. We wish him well in his future endeavours,” it said in a statement. Eskom said in its statement on Monday that Oberholzer’s last day will be 31 July 2023. News24 understands from two well-placed sources, however, that he left at the end of last week. Multiple attempts to contact Oberholzer were unsuccessful.