New Eskom board a step towards transformation - BBC

Cape Town - Eskom’s newly appointed board will not only strengthen corporate governance and ensure financial stability at the power utility, but also drive transformation, the Black Business Council (BBC) said.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the BBC said the appointment of a new board reflected that government was taking governance issues at Eskom seriously, as it has a bearing on the country’s finances.

The new board, appointed by government on Saturday, is to be chaired by businessman Jabu Mabuza. He is also the chair of Telkom and Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) and the president of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA).

Government recommended that former Land Bank CEO and Absa Capital executive Phakamani Hadebe be appointed as Eskom’s acting group CEO, and that a permanent CEO and CFO be appointed within the next three months.

Other members of the board include the BBC’s secretary general George Sebulela. BBC chairman Sello Rasethaba commended the inclusion of black professionals and business people on the board.

“The BBC is witnessing an unprecedented consultation with black business by top government officials such as the Director General Mogokare Sekese of the Department of Public Enterprises and National Treasury’s Dondo Mogajane. We encourage SOE’s (state-owned enterprises) and government departments to follow suit” he said.

“The winds of change by the inter-ministerial committee led by the deputy president of the country are keeping our hopes alive that we shall realize RET (radical economic transformation) in our lifetime,” said Rasethaba.  

The BBC also wants the new board to be given timelines to set up plans and implement a turnaround at the company as this would help draw investment to the company.

New board to act quickly

Cas Coovadia, managing director of the Banking Association of South Africa said that the new board should act quickly in strengthening the executive team at Eskom, addressing Eskom’s going concern and to “get rid” of those executives under investigation for corrupt activities.

“This is one of many opportunities to place South Africa back on the path of economic growth and job creation,” he said.  

“Government will need to provide clarity on what immediate actions it plans to take to re-establish both domestic and international confidence in South Africa as an investment destination,” Coovadia added.

He also believes the new board would help restore confidence in the economy and in SA’s leadership.

Other tasks on the new board’s to-do list, according to a statement by DA MP Natasha Mazzone, include the appointment of “qualified and experienced” individuals in senior positions. The board should also investigate any suspicious contracts and individuals involved in “questionable deals”. She also called for Eskom’s financial stability to be addressed and for the recovery of monies.

The South African Federatiion of Trade Unions also called for the removal and prosecution of directors and executives implicated in corruption.

The portfolio committee on public enterprises will continue its inquiry on Eskom on Tuesday, January 23. Evidence is expected to be presented by Eskom’s suspended chief financial officer Anoj Singh and former acting chief executive Matshela Koko. 

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