- Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga on the group's poor safety performance in 2008. Cameraperson: Danie de Beer. Editing: Darlene Creamer. (17/7/2008) (3.15 MB)
Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said the rise in the number of fatalities from 26 (eight employees and 18 contractors) a year earlier was "very sad" and said that government would be watching closely to ensure that the situation improved.
There was a particular need to accelerate efforts in this regard given that Eskom would be undertaking a major build programme, which would mean that many more employees and contractors would be exposed to dangerous conditions.
At present, the utility had 35 400 employees, but it was on a recruitment drive and was also attracting thousands of contract workers to its various construction sites.
Most of the incidents, Maroga revealed, related to vehicle crashes and electrical contacts.
Over and above the employee-related fatalities, Eskom also reported an increase, from 41 in 2006/7 to 42 last year, in the number of deaths arising from incidents, mostly electrocution, where members of the public came into contact with its system.
Maroga revealed that Du Pont's safety unit had been appointed to help devise response plans at all levels of the organisation, but particularly in developing a leadership strategy that could facilitate a greater culture of safety.
"This is the saddest result to report and my view is that this has to do with leadership and culture, and this is a personal priority for me," Maroga stressed.