Eskom CEO: SA's reserve tank almost exhausted

Eskom CEO: SA's reserve tank almost exhausted

2015-01-15 13:05

Cape Town -  South Africa's power system is so constrained it has almost exhausted its reserve tank, Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona said on Thursday.

Read: As it happened

He compared the power system to a car, saying South Africa has been on a reserve tank and now almost exhausted the reserve space.

"It is like driving a car which has passed its reserve margin, yet the dial continues to move to the point where you could pretty much have a breakdown. We have all but exhausted the reserve space."

Matona was giving his second quarterly update of the state of the system since he took office at Eskom three and a half months ago.

He repeatedly said South Africa is living on the edge.

He said using the metaphor of a car was very helpful in explaining the situation. "The metaphor of the car is helpful as it says if you have a car and you drive it and continue to drive it, it will carry you but at some point it packs up. And this is what is happening with many of the generating units of Eskom."

"Any slight trigger can push us over! We are living on the edge."

Matona said it all boils down to maintenance. "Eskom is a highly technical environment, but we communicate over the heads of the greater public,” he said.

Matona vowed "utmost transparency" at all times. "One fundamental principle that you can be guaranteed we will uphold at all times is utmost transparency and to ensure at all times that the country knows what is happening."

On future load shedding he said the system remains vulnerable. “Any fault in the system pushes us over to load shedding.”

Fin24 tech editor Gareth van Zyl discusses the key points from the briefing:

Full Eskom presentation:

When you can expect load shedding (days in red):

  • Chrissy Columbus - 2015-01-15 13:10

    WOW..... I mean... WOW!!! what a refreshing article, actually admitting what the real problem was, THANK YOU Mr Matona

      Ian Flack - 2015-01-15 13:50

      And no sign of accountability from anyone! The fact that they are admitting there is a problem probably means that it is far worse than anyone has imagined.

      Gorj Bear - 2015-01-15 14:03


      Made Inthe South - 2015-01-15 14:05

      @Chrissy.Why don't he cancel the Eksdom sponsored Gupta breakfast meetings of R43 Million?And what else could he do but tell the truth?Everybody knew the truth already?

      Made Nza - 2015-01-15 14:10


      Tim Chemaly - 2015-01-15 14:11

      I thought there was no crisis at Eskom...the Titanic is gonna sink BUT there is no crisis...yet :)

      Kenny K - 2015-01-15 14:24

      Even the battery /candle suppliers are kaput...

      Pack Age - 2015-01-15 14:25

      And Zuma is in Guinea opening another Personal Bank account, While we about to loose all power. ZUMA STEP DOWN and let a competent president take over you are ruining the country

      Theo Martinez - 2015-01-15 14:25

      meanwhile the ministers responsible are hiding

      Pack Age - 2015-01-15 14:26

      Gorj Bear - Yes it ran out of functionng staff in 1994!

      Theo Martinez - 2015-01-15 14:27

      Indeed refreshing honesty. And finally, what has been obvious for along time, it has been officialised that it is maintenance issues that is causing the soon-collapse. Zuma and his gang could learn some honestly lessons here. The average citizen (and certainly the rural ANC voter) have very little reality-knowledge of where this could take us and the really negative impact on our social-economic fabric. Devastating.

      Antony John - 2015-01-15 15:11

      Yip this country is running on fumes and there's no petrol station for the next 500km....Thank you ANC for creating a failed country for our children....Proudly introducing tablets and paperless schooling yesterday, but guess what you clowns those things need ELECTRICITY.....

      C'est moi - 2015-01-15 16:18

      Excuse me !!! - I listened, with great difficulty, to the whole very long talk - Absolutely NOTHING sensible was said - It was all Newspeak, Doubletalk and Gobbledygook. - I actually felt quite sorry for Matona a few times - He was obviously totally out of his depth and had to string together all these big words into stupid sentences that signified zilch – ALL THE MONEY IS GONE – My wonderful domestic lady and wise friend would say “Hulle het hom geheet”. Can I throw another spanner in the works and inform all that I run a business where I send collectable books overseas - So the postal strike should be over now I get this notification from another book dealer - “I believe that the PO is not accepting overseas airmail parcels because of a dispute with SAA over unpaid airfreight charges." – ALL THE MONEY IS GONE – “Hulle het hom geheet – saam met die Guptas”

  • Lynn Hugo - 2015-01-15 13:19

    what have you been doing as eskoms head??? pay back all you pay and bonuses. you did nothing but worsen the problem.

      Moeg Geploeg - 2015-01-15 14:11

      Please correct me if I am wrong but didn't we had more than 60% increases in electricity tariffs over the last 4 years. That money was supposed to have fund the Medupe project which is already running 2 years late...this is a horror story busy to surface

      Leroy Reynolds - 2015-01-15 14:42

      Probably the most valid point here, bonuses, money missing, billions spent! Nothing to show for it! Where is the jail time for all involved, they should be held accountable for destabilizing a country no?

      Made Inthe South - 2015-01-15 15:11

      The reality is that as long as Zuma783 and the ZANC is there,you ,the taxpayer will be Speared.ZANC made money out of the building of Medupi and Kusile,because their investment arm Chancellor House owned Hitachi Power Africa that had the R38 Billion contract for the boilers.That projects are now late because of strikes and faulty welding to the boilers,which had to be rectified by overseas welders. Now they will use this crisis,ZANC created,to justify the building of Russian nuclear reactors.So Chancellor House and the cadres can get tenders again.ZANC keep on winning.And if you followed the news,the Guptas are getting an uranium mine off the ground,in anticipation of the nuclear build

  • Kobus Hattingh - 2015-01-15 13:22

    The same relates to every single dept or agency run by the ANC . Doomed for failure!

      Nikki Downes - 2015-01-15 13:43

      I believe you are right. We are losing decades of infrastructure and capability in a few years. Frightening to think jobs depend on this infrastructure.

      Andre Jacobs - 2015-01-16 13:12

      Yes Nikki--we can see the consequences. If we go over that edge we are talking depression and negative growth rate with many people without work and a rise in crime. The only good thing that can come of this is that the toll gates will go bang also.

  • Henk Els - 2015-01-15 13:30

    Running on the reserve tank? Yet the poor car was never maintained properly by skilled mechanics and although it was already overloaded, there is always space for one more passenger,(illegal connection or squatter camps getting connected)? Yet you have the audacity to call yourself managers and expect the rest of SA to get you out of the hole you dug yourself into. Pitiful

      brendon.mokwena - 2015-01-15 13:52

      I think this is more like the taxi's things only get fixed once it's broken down else it's left alone, it breaks my heart every time you see how much we paying for electric (the car) yet the percentage of people who don't pay is extremely high and that's not being addressed

      Richard Nieckau - 2015-01-15 14:01

      ANC won't cut illegal power because these are the folks that vote them into power!?! Sick, twisted game played by ANC...Natural Born Terrorists only know how to f#ck everything up!

  • Abizou Walkeen - 2015-01-15 13:32

    Now what?

      PointBlank - 2015-01-15 15:24

      We vote differently.

  • Tony Wegerle - 2015-01-15 13:33

    Get #zupta to #paybackthemoney!

  • Roelof Van Rooyen - 2015-01-15 13:39

    Ok, let's start from 1652 when there was no electricity and start all over again to put electrical network in place....

  • Roelof Van Rooyen - 2015-01-15 13:41

    What did we have before candles? ....electricity....

  • Peet Luckhoff - 2015-01-15 13:48

    1. Your boss said it was Apartheid's fault, are you now going back on that BOLD statement, by admitting it was maintenance? 2. How DARE you mention tariff increases for the paying customers, when there are still people getting free electricity. 3. Listening to you, it seems to appear that everyone is to blame for the crisis, except Eskom. 4. I assume you will be paying back the ridiculous bonuses received. 5. When can we expect the panel's resignations?

  • Barry du Toit - 2015-01-15 13:49

    And 2 months ago there was no crisis. Idiot.

      Andrew Terr - 2015-01-15 14:33

      If lies could generate power ESKOM would be home and dry.

      Andrew Terr - 2015-01-15 14:39

      A BRIGHT SPARK once said.What you do in the DARK will come out into the LIGHT.

  • watchman - 2015-01-15 13:55

    So even though you and the cANCer cadres were aware of the looming disaster you have created you still went ahead and voted incredibly absurd bonuses for all!!!!! What a bunch of thieves.

  • fargone - 2015-01-15 13:55

    SA's reserve tank nearly empty???? Should have been dealt with by these "Idiots" earlier, notice how they still earned huge salaries...BUT for doing WHAT? NOTHING!!!??!

  • Johan Fourie - 2015-01-15 13:56

    Close the place down and spend the money that they waste on something better because as an electricity supplier they are totally useless! It like an old, useless car - if it keeps on breaking down and is not reliable anymore you REPLACE it!!!

      fragtion - 2015-01-15 15:26

      If we should take Mr Matona's metaphor seriously, then Eskom itself is no longer roadworthy. It should be removed from the map, and if government cannot secure a cost-effective alternative, then we should be permitted to phase in another private vehicle which can actually get us from point A to B reliably, without the constant worry about our safety or even an ultimate catastrophic failure! Why is it still illegal in SA to sell back our excess solar production to the grid?? ANC needs to get their lazy arses into Gear - pun intended!!

  • Richard Nieckau - 2015-01-15 13:59

    Brainless idiots say something different every day and think themselves clever whilst doing it !? 1 month ago this idiot was saying there was 'no power crisis at Eskom' , now he likens the whole country to a car about to stall.......permanently.

  • mark.hartley.1238 - 2015-01-15 13:59

    Call Van Riebeeck to fix it.

  • ben.nel2 - 2015-01-15 14:00

    and still paying huge salaries & bonuses....

  • Richard Nieckau - 2015-01-15 14:04

    Try this ANC terrorist Government for Treason. They have destroyed our country, inside and out.

      Brenton Francis - 2015-01-15 14:50

      The country was never yours to begin with!!!!Don't get me wrong the ANC is unequipped to run this country no doubt about it but we all deserved freedom.

      Genet Joobs - 2015-01-15 15:14

      Brenton, he said our country - get off your chip on your shoulder, because it is not yours either, it is ours. Tell me what freedom is without a fully functioning country please, because this country is certainly not functioning.

  • Rudolph Verster - 2015-01-15 14:04


      Herman de Villiers - 2015-01-15 15:32

      In the dark NOGAL !!! LOL

  • Dane Cresswell - 2015-01-15 14:05

    The last CEO Brian Dames left with a R22m severance package after his 5 year stint. He added absolutely no value to ESKOM and now the truth is emerging as these problems have been coming a long time! Absolute circus and we as business must again focus our attention with effort and cost to a commodity like electricity to ensure we stay productive,profitable and sustainable.Dam annoying!

      Terrence Schwartz - 2015-01-15 14:47

      And I believe Dames had a cosy seat at the ANC Banquet recently.......

  • Richard Nieckau - 2015-01-15 14:05

    Convert the soccer stadia to Prisons and lock up this terrorist Government. Let the grow vegetables on the turf and put them to hard labour, useless voting fodder!

  • Cheryl Slabbert - 2015-01-15 14:07

    The paw paw is going to hit the fan (bad news) but the fan won't be working if the power is gone (good news). Ask any taxi driver: you can fix a broken taxi with pliers and a piece of wire for only so long ..... it will eventually cease to work altogether.

  • Akhona Ntanti Ntantiso - 2015-01-15 14:08

    yhooo haike fill it up kalok....

  • Marius Strydom - 2015-01-15 14:08

    No more KfC

      Joel Mabeke - 2015-01-15 14:56

      Dont worry we do have chisa nyama.

      Antony John - 2015-01-15 15:23

      Joel where you gonna get your nyama, you do know abbatoirs, butcheries and supermarkets require electricity to function....oh I forgot you'll just take it from the farmers. OK and when that is finished? Oh yes the wildlife, and when that is finished?

  • Pieter Traut - 2015-01-15 14:08

    Now that is the result of disconnecting the reserve light in the 90s...

  • Warren Sheehan - 2015-01-15 14:09

    zero accountability, he treats the public as if we are fools. Privatize South African Power and Bankrupt these incompetent morons. Its the only way forward. this idiot goes on about his " car metaphor" which is ironic that he never bothered himself to "Service the car."

      Roger de Doncker - 2015-01-15 14:18

      Well said

  • George Wood - 2015-01-15 14:12

    and tell us why exactly that you've let it come to this Mr CEO?

      Theo Martinez - 2015-01-15 14:31

      it's the previous lot. This CEO is just in this chair recently. The previous gangsters just cashed in the bonus and fled. Cadre deployment.

      George Wood - 2015-01-15 19:15

      Theo I hope you're not insinuating that fault lies directly at incompetent ANC Cadres, I mean who'd of thought eh?

  • Janus Du Preez - 2015-01-15 14:13

    And still nothing will be done. His job has been done by telling everyone that there is a problem, and when the entire system gets fried he will put on a suit again and tell everyone that "remember wena, I told you so"

      Theo Martinez - 2015-01-15 14:30

      meanwhile reports of wrongful construction at Medupi

  • Theo Martinez - 2015-01-15 14:29

    do the e-tolls gantries work when there are blackouts? Proudly delivered to you by the ANC (always a good story to tell): darkness across the nation and e-tolls invoice in your mailbox.

      Charlene Beukes - 2015-01-15 21:55

      I wonder what the gantries electricity bill is

  • Rob Graf - 2015-01-15 14:36

    What's happening with our two new over due powerstations, seems like our wonderful shower folk can't even do much from scratch, even a new project is pulled through their A$$

  • Arcadia Jane - 2015-01-15 14:40

    I told you they should rather give us solar for free than waste money on something they clearly destroyed! Stupid idiots!

  • Kyle van der Merwe - 2015-01-15 14:41

    is this the 2 bit braindead idiot that said "we have no crisis", everthing is ruined, hospitals, road, education, eskom, local government, water works....annd they say it better....africans are a truth unto themselves, there is just no reality only the dreamworlds they live in. They have no respect for life or rules only to empower themselves at everybody else expense, that is why africa is a failure. Law of the jungle prevails, the clown at the top gets everything everybody else nothing.

  • Jurgen Eksteen - 2015-01-15 14:45

    Start with the secretive nuke generator program regarding transparency as well as pointing out the people behind this fiasco and deal with them.

  • Susan Kemp - 2015-01-15 14:47

    Just like we all stood together against the etolls, we will have to stand together against Eskom too. Refuse to pay income tax until the government takes hold of Eskom and forces unlawful connections to be disconnected. Are we still supplying our neighboring countries with electricity? Then government will have to cut them off. This is past ridiculous.

  • PINKFLOOI - 2015-01-15 14:51

    Listened to the complete broadcast on e-news today, and all it was, excuses excuses excuses excuses excuses excuses excuses excuses excuses excuses excuses, plank nation with plank ideas, to dumb to tell us what the solution is to fix the crap they have created.

      fragtion - 2015-01-15 15:05

      Not just excuses, but also blatantly false information, too. Such as the CEO's claim that they are totally transparent. Is that why they've censored the live graphs of Eskom's total MW production from public viewing on the Eskom website? Or what about Eskom exec Thamen Govender's assertion on live TV today that a 'blackout' always implies a total national outage, and that the term 'rolling blackouts' is therefore illogical. Cambridge and Oxford, where are you? It appears your definitions of the word 'blackout' are incorrect and must be amended to suit Mr Govender's interpretation with immediate effect! Otherwise it would seem that Mr Eskom Exec should plausibly go back to primary school and learn some basic terminology before misleading the public with his ignorance!

  • Aldo Errico - 2015-01-15 14:52

    Go work for the ANC, all you need to do is fail your blood test and talk crap!

  • Oscar Letsoalo - 2015-01-15 14:55

    What a mess our leaders have created! They kewp milking this institutions with dubious contracts to their girlfriends neglecting to call contracts to maintain the infrastructure! How do you spent over R1 billion in catering and keep shifting maintenance? What do this people talk about in their annual general meetings? More budget for Guptas and catering? Shucks! Pity majority of voters still believe what this people tell them!

  • Avril Pagel - 2015-01-15 14:58

    It is important to service your car every 10 thousand km s.This was not done.Same principle of maintaining pavements etc.Have you noticed the grass and weeds,including wattle trees growing out of Jhb pavements.

  • Braam Compion - 2015-01-15 15:00

    Damn you Jan van

  • Zanele Nkosi299 - 2015-01-15 15:02

    Before selling off Eskom assets, get the township people to pay their arrears

  • Reg Tischendorf - 2015-01-15 15:03

    This bloody idiot has the cheek to explain to the country what we already know. Hello, this is 2015, what has taken place since 1994??? We have got rid of all the experienced tradesmen/women and employed our friends and comrades who have no clue how to install a globe, let alone maintain a power station!! If this was a private enterprise, it would have shut down years ago for non performance. Time for privatisation and competition!!!

  • Glynis Welbourne - 2015-01-15 15:07

    I think we should all erect wind turbines in our back gardens...

  • Made Inthe South - 2015-01-15 15:10

    The reality is that as long as Zuma783 and the ZANC is there,you ,the taxpayer will be Speared.ZANC made money out of the building of Medupi and Kusile,because their investment arm Chancellor House owned Hitachi Power Africa that had the R38 Billion contract for the boilers.That projects are now late because of strikes and faulty welding to the boilers,which had to be rectified by overseas welders. Now they will use this crisis,ZANC created,to justify the building of Russian nuclear reactors.So Chancellor House and the cadres can get tenders again.ZANC keep on winning.And if you followed the news,the Guptas are getting an uranium mine off the ground,in anticipation of the nuclear build

  • Gary Miller - 2015-01-15 15:16

    This from a person who's predisesor earned a salary of in excess of R23 million per year, firstly the car analysis is stupid anyone can drive a car that is why in south Africa you need a license to prove you are competent and responsible to drive a car, can the same be said about eskom when they suspended maintenance and put all profits into their pockets as bonuses and salaries what has happened to the war room why is eskom not placed under administration but its all the publics fault (forget that eskom allows illegal connections costing R7 billion a year, it you are poor is south Africa stealing electricity is acceptable) how much money did the ruling party spend (cake) while the whole country suffers but as we have seen ministers and the president are not subject to load shedding because it is a better life for all, lastly madupi was started- started after 1995 however due to mismanagement, bee tenders, strikes this power plant is over due please explain to me then how is this a better life for all

  • shiney.alexandergeorge - 2015-01-15 15:21

    Stop moaning. Tell us your plans to bring us back from the brink.

  • Mark Ewing - 2015-01-15 15:26

    And like any car, Mr. Matona, it needs to be serviced regularly to ensure it keeps on going!

  • Louis van Zyl - 2015-01-15 15:34

    Time for a salary cut!

  • Derek Bekker - 2015-01-15 15:35

    SABC fail, SAA fail, ESKOM fail, ANC fail

  • arleen.shotland - 2015-01-15 15:37

    The sad thing we can all vent our anger and disgust.....does it help????!!!! Ziman must zoom zoom off and maybe privatization is the answer

  • Brenton Francis - 2015-01-15 15:53

    @ Genet this country belongs to no one,when we die it still stands we cant take it with us.I hate it when people brings up words like "Terrorist" The ANC has changed this is not what the struggling icons wanted.Its Zuma, his family,his friends and partners in crime(fraudsters)that's to blame here.

  • Rebecca Smith - 2015-01-15 15:54

    my god and this man gets paid over R15 million to compare Eskom to a car, what a load of hogwash, pay back the money you thieving savage

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