By Hoandi !Gaeb Mariental The establishment of the Southern Electricity Distribution Company (SORED) has yet again been delayed, as the board of the company could not get a quorum on more than one occasion for a meeting to decide on recruitment for the top four senior positions. Speaking to New Era yesterday, Chairman of the Technical Committee of SORED, Salmaan Jacobs confirmed that a crucial meeting scheduled for last month had to be cancelled at short notice after the full board could not attend. However, Jacobs said his committee is now ready to have the meeting as soon as possible so that the company can become operational within the next few months. He said the chief executive officer and his three senior managers for commercial services, finance and technical department will be recruited initially to enable them to set up other structures as directed in the strategic business plan of the company Jacobs said it is a standing directive from the Ministry of Mines and Energy that SORED should be up and running as soon as possible. To this end, he said, the services of a well-known auditing firm, BD Spencer and Associates, have already been enlisted to set the recruitment process in motion. According to Jacobs, the new electricity distribution company will be financed through contributions from all local authorities in the Hardap, Karas and parts of the Omaheke regions. He said all local authorities are required to pay one cent per kilowatt/hour. It is envisaged that 50 percent of the new company’s expenditure will be covered through these contributions, while the rest of the money will be borrowed on the open market. Jacobs further stated that the new company will operate as an independent entity and most of the personnel from the current electricity departments of municipalities in the three regions will be automatically absorbed by SORED. However, he noted that since these personnel will only account for some 65 percent of the workforce, the rest will be recruited from elsewhere. Meanwhile, some residents of the affected regions expressed disappointment over the delay in the establishment of the electricity giant, as they feel that the new distribution company may provide much needed job opportunities in the area. “We want the company to be up and running as soon as possible so that the high unemployment rate in the Hardap and Karas regions could be somehow remedied,” they say. SORED’s board of directors consists of Chief Stephanus Goliath (chairman), Katrina Hanse (deputy chairperson), Johannes !Gawaxab (Old Mutual’s Managing Director for Africa Operations), Salmaan Jacobs (Chief Executive Officer of the Karas Region), Franco Feris (formerly of the Rehoboth Town Council) and Attie Schultz and Lucia Shipena, both of Nampower. According to Jacobs, the head office of SORED will be based at Mariental and temporary office space has already been acquired.
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