Unimaginable demands: Eskom boss steps down, cites health as the reason

Phakamani Hadebe. Picture: Deaan Vivier
Phakamani Hadebe. Picture: Deaan Vivier

The chief executive of struggling power utility Eskom, Phakamani Hadebe, will step down at the end of July this year, the company’s board said on Friday.

Hadebe said he was stepping down for health reasons.

“It is no secret that this role comes with unimaginable demands which have unfortunately had a negative impact on my health. In the best interests of Eskom and my family, I have therefore decided to step down,” Hadebe said in a statement.

The government appointed Hadebe as chief executive in May 2018, ending a string of interim appointments that stretched back to 2016.

Last month, in an internal memo addressed to “Eskom Guardians” – a term that Hadebe seemingly uses to address staff – Hadebe sought to allay staff members’ concerns about job security.

He also spoke out against corruption at the organisation, which seemingly has been enabled by some of Eskom’s staff.

“What’s worrying and a matter of grave concern is that these companies could not be involved in corrupt dealings with Eskom, without the active enablement and support from some of our own Eskom Guardians,” he said.

Hadebe, a former chief executive of the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa, also worked in the National Treasury from 2003 to 2008 serving as head of assets and liabilities.

From 2008 to 2013 he was the chief executive and director of the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa, during which he laid charges against the Bank’s former chief executive Philemon Mohlahlane for corruption. Mohlahlane was convicted for corruption in 2018.

From December 2013 until January 2018 Hadebe was head the corporate and investment banking division of Barclays Africa. He was appointed as chief executive of Eskom in May 2018, after acting in the position for a few months.

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