Cape Town - Roman Crookes, project director of the new Medupi power station, has resigned and will vacate his post at the end of January, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe confirmed on Sunday.
Crookes is leaving Eskom to pursue other opportunities, he said.
He told Fin24 Crookes’ departure is not a major concern for the state power utility as with any other project team there are other managers working very closely on the project and thus know what’s going on.
“There has also been a lot of cross pollination of experience and expertise between the teams at Medupi and Kusile,” which will make a "handover process seamless", Phasiwe said.
Phasiwe said Crookes is the leader of a team of six managers from which a successor will likely to be named.
Crookes has been with Eskom for the last 16 and half years and started his career in Eskom as a mechanical engineering bursar at Kendal Power Station.
He has worked in the fields of engineering, maintenance and project management before his appointment a decade ago to run Medupi, which is, as Kusile, one of the largest and most complex engineering projects in the world.
“Roman has delivered the first 800 MW Unit into commercial service in August last year and leaves behind a strong and experienced management team who will continue to drive Medupi forward to completion,” said Phasiwe.
Medupi at 4 700 MW is slightly smaller than Kusile, which will be the largest power station that Eskom will have in its entire production fleet when finished building.
Medupi's Unit 6 came into operation four years later than planned, but its 800 MW contribution to the grid has helped brought an end to load shedding which caused immense damage to the economy.
“If you look at Medupi as a construction project, we’ve experienced the entire fleet of technical, commercial, construction and labour related challenges on this project, so the delays we’ve seen have been cumulative, over a number of years,” Crookes told CNB Africa in an interview in February last year.
“Obviously, Unit 6 is the one that we spent most of the time on, learning and developing all the facilities… we then take those lessons, distribute them throughout Medupi, and then do the same for Kusile.
“With the first one being now and the last one in 2019, our schedule shows that Unit 5, which is the second unit, will flow towards the end of next year/early 2017. You’ll then start to see the lessons coming faster and the units between the gaps starting to come down and that’s how we’ll end off, in 2019,” said Crookes.
Phasiwe confirmed Medupi Power Station is set to be completed by 2019/20, and Kusile in 2020/21. Medupi’s Unit 5 is scheduled to go online towards the end of this year/early 2017, and Kusile's first unit also in 2017.