Eskom’s Medupi power plant project director resigns

Roman Crookes, the project director in charge of the construction of Eskom’s Medupi power plant, has resigned.

This is according to an article in Rapport, which said that Crookes will be vacating his post at the end of January 2016.

Crookes resigned to pursue his own interests, Eskom said.

According to Rapport, a 36 year-old Crookes was appointed as project leader for Medupi in 2006 at a time when there was very little power plant construction experience left at Eskom.

It had been 20 years since the utility had built Majuba in Mpumalanga and many of the skills needed, such as specialist welders, had been snapped up for overseas work.

Crookes was appointed to the post because he had headed up the team to restore the Camden power station in Mpumalanga to help stave off the impending electricity crisis South Africa faced.

In 2012 he received a Gold Award for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies in recognition of the Medupi Virtual Design and Construction Management System.

With 3D/4D computer modelling capabilities, the system made it easier to co-ordinate the various contracts for the project, Rapport said.

The pressure is on

Medupi’s first 800 megawatt unit was fully online by August 2014, four years behind schedule.

In an earlier interview with Rapport, Crookes said that biggest stumbling block the Medupi project still faces is continued risk of strike action.

Rapport said that Crookes had been under tremendous pressure over the past two years to bring Medupi’s first unit online.

There is now immense pressure on the project team once again to conclude construction and begin synchronisation of the next unit.

Medupi’s second unit is currently scheduled to be brought into service in April 2018.

Eskom said that Crookes lead a team of six managers from which a successor will likely be chosen.

The head of capital projects at Eskom, Abram Masango, will choose his replacement, who will then be presented to the management team for approval.

The full report is in Rapport (3 January 2016).

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Eskom’s Medupi power plant project director resigns