No race-based retrenchments: Eskom

Eskom does not have a policy of retrenching employees based on race, the parastatal said on Monday.

“Instead, a principle of natural attrition has been used when certain positions became vacant,” the company said in a statement.

“Eskom has, and continues to recruit new engineers and technicians without discrimination.”

According to an article in Sunday’s Rapport, Eskom had to reduce the number of white engineers and artisans at the company to comply with new government requirements. The number of white engineers reportedly had to be reduced by 1,081, and white artisans by 2,179.

The new directives reportedly required Eskom to ensure these two job categories become “completely reflective of the national and regional demographics” by 2020.

South Africa’s inconsistent electricity supply is expected to cost the country around 0.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) growth, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) said on Monday.

“We saw 4th quarter as a fairly pleasant surprise after a fairly disappointing 2014,” chief economist for Europe, Middle East, and Africa Jean Michel-Six said.

“We would estimate that the electricity drag, the shortages… could take about 0.3 percent off of the rate of growth of the economy this year.”

There were some downside risks to this estimate, with S&P recognising that the situation could be worse than in their assessment baseline.

S&P estimated that GDP growth in South Africa for 2015 would be just over two percent.

Michel-Six suggested this figure would between 2.2 to 2.5 percent, after the electricity supply effects were considered.

Meanwhile, Eskom said that he power grid remained constrained on Monday.

Any extra load or faults in the system may require load shedding, the power utility’s media desk said in a statement.

“Eskom’s ambition is not to implement load shedding at any given day, but because we are operating an old and vulnerable power system, sometimes we do experience technical faults, and this increases the risk of load shedding.”

The capacity available to meet Monday evening’s demand was 31,663MW while demand was expected at 31,159MW.

Current planned maintenance was 4,392MW and unplanned outages 7,624 MW.

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No race-based retrenchments: Eskom