Thursday, November 5, 2009

Don't let Jacob Maroga leave Eskom

I would be sad to find out that Jacob Maroga, CEO of Eskom, has resigned as some news reports are reporting today.

IMHO Mr Maroga is the best man for the job Eskom (and its customers) can realistically hope to have. It's important here to decouple one's selfish kneejerk reaction to Eskom's application for 3 45% hikes in electricity tariffs from one's desire to have the right person leading the company.
  • Mr Maroga has been an electrical engineer for 24 years, and I'd much prefer an electrical engineer who's been with Eskom for 14 years running an electricity supply company than some random accountant or politician type or artist type.
  • Mr Maroga has been CEO since May 2007. This is roughly when the worst of the unplanned power failures in the Western Cape were coming to an end. We had a couple more bouts of planned power failures in early 2008, to be fair. Since then, I don't remember any Eskom-caused failures affecting me. My point here is that Thulani Gcabashe is rightly no longer CEO of Eskom. The power failures were not Mr Maroga's doing.
  • 10 years ago, when new power stations should have started to have been built, Maroga was "Distribution Technology Manager". Do you see the lack of the word "Generation" there, or in fact anywhere in his career?
  • Eskom's electricity is too cheap. Too cheap for them to make a profit (which they must, else capitalism demands they go out of business), not too cheap for us to afford. (Blame the municipalities here, not Eskom. Quick quiz - what's the single largest source of income for your municipality?) Getting rid of Jacob Maroga and replacing him with someone new won't change this fact: their electricity will still be too cheap.
So remind me: why do you want Jacob Maroga out?

Financial independence

The Elm tree and the Vine.

An extravagant young Vine, vainly ambitious of independency, and fond of rambling at large, despised the alliance of a stately Elm that grew near, and courted her embraces. Having risen to some small height without any kind of support, she shot forth her flimsy branches to a very uncommon and superfluous length; calling on her neighbor to take notice how little she wanted his assistance. Poor infatuated shrub, replied the Elm, how inconsistent is thy conduct! Wouldst thou be truly independent, thou shouldst carefully apply those juices to the enlargement of thy stem, which thou lavishest in vain upon unnecessary foliage. I shortly shall behold thee groveling on the ground; yet countenanced, indeed, by many of the human race, who intoxicated with vanity,
have despised economy; and who, to support for a moment their empty boast of independence, have exhausted the very source of it in frivolous expenses.

[Retrieved from with scannos fixed.]