Four Reasons to Privatise ESKOM
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This weekend, African Business Review will be looking at the potential pros and cons of privatising South Africa’s state utility company, ESKOM, at a time when the Treasury recently announced that it would be considering this option.
MORE ON ESKOM FROM ABR:
South Africa’s ESKOM receives junk credit rating
ESKOM, Petro SA, and Sunbird enter into long term gas supply deal
A dark day for Eskom: Power outages threaten South Africa’s economy
Whilst no option will be absolutely perfect and please everyone, it is important to approach the topic from both sides; this article will explore the potential benefits of privatisation.
If the South African government sells assets in ESKOM (whether partly or completely) then it has the potential to raise serious revenues which could either be reinvested into the remaining publicly owned part of the company or be invested in a range of other government initiatives.
Not only will investors compete for the potentially very lucrative opportunities arising from sale, there is also potential for competition between future private providers, which could raise standards and drive down costs for the consumer.
3. Takes politicians out of the equation
Full privatisation of ESKOM could ensure that the utility is managed more in line with modern business practices: it is often argued that politicians make poor economic decisions (not to mention having to win votes to stay in office) whereas private CEOs make more long term decisions.
Private companies exists with a built-in incentive to increase profitability through driving down costs and constantly aiming to make operations more efficient and streamlined. The challenge for a project as large and complex as ESKOM lies in being able to expand in a cost effective way.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.