Eskom Group IT moves 'minimal'

Bonnie Tubbs
By Bonnie Tubbs, ITWeb telecoms editor.
Johannesburg, 02 Dec 2014
Eskom CIO Sal Laher says the company's Group IT division has seen a very low rate of attrition over the past three years.
Eskom CIO Sal Laher says the company's Group IT division has seen a very low rate of attrition over the past three years.

Eskom's voluntary separation packages process has drawn at least three applications from management members from the company's Group IT division under CIO Sal Laher.

This comes after the state-owned utility last week confirmed it had asked staff to consider voluntary retrenchment packages. The South African Press Association on Wednesday cited Eskom spokesman Andrew Etzinger as saying: "[Eskom has] announced the process by which employees can apply for voluntary separation packages."

Laher says the company will be receiving applications up until the end of February, at which time these will be considered, although he did not confirm the number of applications that have been submitted thus far.

Eskom has confirmed three IT personnel have applied for voluntary packages, while one official has resigned for personal reasons. "Their applications are under consideration. The four managers worked as part of a collective team."

Laher confirmed the "official" to be senior manager Vikesh Rameshwur, who will be leaving the company at the end of the year.

This separation package process - which is entirely voluntary - forms part of a longer-term process, which will essentially only kick off next year, when the applications for separation packages are due. The applications, says Laher, will be considered on a case-by-case basis under strict criteria.

Minimal impact

Business Day today reported there had been "unconfirmed reports that several senior managers had quit Eskom".

Laher this morning told ITWeb that, apart from Rameshwur, no one from Group IT is leaving anytime soon, if at all. "None of the applications that have so far been mentioned will even be decided on until they close [in February] and, even if there are departures, there will be no real impact."

Laher explains there are about 1 000 permanent employees in Eskom's Group IT division - about 20% of which are of management level. "That 20% includes all levels, from executives to team leaders and supervisors."

He says he is not concerned about the separation packages process. "Even if I got 30 applications, that would be less than two or three percent, which is nothing if you consider any company probably carries about five percent of employees that could be churned - and it would be healthy. We are nowhere near that."

Laher adds it is the technical skills that are of concern to an IT division. "If I lost a lot of technical skills people that I have invested a lot in, then I would start to worry."

The attrition rate in Group IT at Eskom over the past three years, says Laher, has been 1.9% to 2.1% - a number he says, by all industry standards, is very low.

As at 31 March, Eskom employed 46 919 employees, inclusive of fixed-term contractors.

* This story was updated at 3:40pm on Tuesday, 2 December.