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Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Monday, 9 November 2009

SA power chief quits in race row

The Star newspaper captures a resident of Johannesburg's city centre during a  blackout
South Africans have been getting used to power cuts

The chairman of South Africa's national power company Eskom has resigned, days after he was accused of forcing out his black chief executive.

Eskom board chairman Bobby Godsell and Jacob Maroga had been engaged in a power struggle for some time.

Last week, it was reported that Mr Maroga had resigned, leading the Youth League of the ruling ANC to allege he had been pushed because he was black.

Eskom has been in the spotlight since power cuts hit the country last year.

The BBC's Mpho Lakaje in Johannesburg says there has been political intervention in the dispute.

'Slaughterhouses'

The Star newspaper reports that President Jacob Zuma met Mr Godsell over the weekend.

The Black Management Forum also criticised the announcement that Mr Maroga had resigned, saying state-owned enterprises were becoming "slaughterhouses" for black professionals.

Eskom spokesman Andrew Etzinger said Mr Maroga had returned to work on Monday and blamed the confusion on an "interpretation of a discussion".

"Mr Maroga's interpretation was that he hadn't resigned, the board's was that he had. Mr Maroga had offered to resign and the board had accepted that offer... it was in a context of a discussion and not a formal resignation," he told the Sapa news agency.

The department of public enterprises has confirmed that it has received Mr Godsell's resignation letter.

Our correspondent says that most South Africans are more concerned with getting a reliable electricity supply than who is running the company.

Last year, Eskom lost 9.7 billion rand ($1.2bn; £700m).

Under Mr Maroga, prices have shot up to help pay for more power stations to improve supplies.



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