Flash Briefing: Load shedding to continue; Aspen SA adds anaesthetics; former Eskom CEO Koko allegedly ‘cooked the books’

  • South Africa faces an increased risk of power outages because maintenance needs to be carried out at deteriorating coal-fired power stations, the state energy utility said. The availability of electricity from Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s plants was lower overall this year than the previous financial year and the current performance is below target, Group COO Jan Oberholzer said in a presentation on Monday. The utility, which provides most of South Africa’s power, expected earlier this year to show an improvement in generation from September. “However painful in the short term, this maintenance we have to do in order to ensure future reliability,” Oberholzer said. Eskom has announced that Stage 2 load shedding will return from 9pm to 5am on the nights of Monday and Tuesday.
  • Aspen Pharmacare opened the southern hemisphere’s largest general anaesthetics manufacturing line, adding production at the South African plant where it fills and packages the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. The extension will see products generating R8bn a year relocated to the coastal town of Gqeberha from Europe, CEO Stephen Saad told reporters. Aspen shifted the production of drugs for late-stage cancer, Parkinson’s disease and some auto-immune illnesses to the factory in 2018. Last year it started making the J&J shot there. “This facility will help ensure no African is ever denied these treatments like anaesthetics and vaccines again,” Saad said.
  • A News24 investigation alleges that reporting systems implemented by former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko may have incentivised managers to under-report problems during his tenure to artificially inflate system performance – all to the detriment of the grid and possibly exacerbating the issues the power utility faces today. According to the report, the system rewarded managers for meeting generation targets and threatened suspension without pay if expectations were not met. Historical data shows that reported data during Koko’s tenure and under the system is inconsistent with data before and after this period. Koko denied the allegations.
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