Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe to leave, cites health reasons

By Alastair Reed

(Bloomberg) – Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. said Phakamani Hadebe will step down as chief executive officer of the heavily indebted South African state power utility at the end of July, deepening a crisis that Goldman Sachs has described as the biggest threat to the country’s economy.

Hadebe is leaving due to health reasons, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement published on Twitter. “It is no secret that this role comes with unimaginable demands which have unfortunately had a negative impact on my health,” Hadebe said in the statement.

Eskom is groaning under almost R500bn ($34.7bn) of bond and loan debt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and isn’t selling enough electricity to cover its operating and borrowing costs.

President Cyril Ramaphosa insists that Eskom is “too big to fail” and the government has already given the company a three-year R69bn bailout. With the nation’s finances stretched to the limit, the Treasury has limited scope to continue bailing the company out.