Former South African president Thabo Mbeki has come to the defense of Brian Molefe, a former chief executive officer of Eskom.
Mbeki defended Brian Molefe regarding his record of ending load shedding, despite corruption allegations during his tenure at Eskom.
“Load shedding began in 2008, and there was a severe crisis. The argument for that was that Eskom had told the government in 1998 that there must be investment in new infrastructure, but the government did not listen, hence the blackouts. That story was false; that story was cooked up,” stated Mbeki.
The former South African President added that the shutdown occurred because the people in charge of power stations failed to do the right thing.
“We had coal nearby to put into the power station, and they did not. The power stations ran out of coal,” Mbeki said.
Mbeki referred to Molefe as a friend whose tenure at Eskom was a major turning point in saving the power utility from load shedding.
His sentiments were echoed by energy expert Lungile Mashele who narrated that load shedding was under control during Molefe’s tenure.
Still, on the same matter, Professor Hartmut Winkler, of the University of Pretoria noted that there was sufficient evidence to prove that Eskom had reduced load shedding between 2015 and 2018.
“The strategy was to decrease maintenance of power stations to ensure the grid was uninterrupted,” noted Winkler.
Molefe had been facing criticism for several months over corruption allegations during his tenure at Eskom.
For instance, he was associated with mismanagement of the Zondo Commission, where he was accused of starving Glencore-owned Optimum Coal Mine funds.