JOHANNESBURG, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- With the newly appointed power utility Eskom's CEO Andre de Ruyter starting his tenure on Monday, he is urged to urgently resolve rolling blackouts problems because of the disastrous effects they have on the economy, said a South African expert.
Jannie Rossouw, head of School of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, said Eskom's power shut-offs were costing South Africa's businesses millions daily.
"The first issue is to figure out why South Africa is load shedding again and what must be done to prevent power cuts. Our economy will really suffer severely if load shedding continues, resolving load shedding must be the one priority," he said.
When South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 3.2 percent in the first quarter of last year, economists blamed Eskom's power cuts for the decline. The implementation of load shedding intensified last year when stage 4 and 6 load shedding kicked in.
The GDP growth for 2019 is expected to be below 0.8 percent.
Local media reported that Eskom staff were also demanding at least 1.8 billion rand bonus (126 million US dollars).
"He must restore confidence in Eskom's management and clarify things that are in the media," Rossouw said.
Other serious issues that de Ruyter should tackle include Eskom's heavy debt. He is also expected to lead the unbundling of the company into three different business units.