Gordhan appoints Phakamani Hadebe Eskom CEO in sweeping SOE board changes

Cape Town – Cabinet has approved a recommendation by Eskom's board to appoint Phakamani Hadebe as CEO of Eskom.

This is according to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan who announced changes to boards of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in his portfolio.

Gordhan has oversight over power utility Eskom, rail and ports company Transnet, defence manufacturer Denel, airline SA Express, diamond mining organisation Alexkor and the South African Forestry Company (Safcol).

In his budget vote last week, Gordhan unpacked measures the department is taking to clean up and reform SOEs. He spoke about changing the way boards are appointed, as they played a critical part in the strategy of state capture, Fin24 previously reported.

At a briefing ahead of the budget vote last week, Gordhan speculated that state capture enabled through the entities could have cost the country R100bn.

Hadebe's appointment follows the "excellent work" done at Eskom since he joined Eskom as interim CEO in January, Gordhan said.

"Hadebe has experience at the Land Bank and Treasury, he had a stint at banking institution ABSA, he is competent to steer Eskom and stabilise the institution and position it for its role in the economy."

During the briefing Gordhan, who is on his 86th day in the office of the DPE, said it is important for SOEs to be placed on a sustainable financial footing. The boards have been under review, as have the operating models of the entities.

“SOEs have a crucial role to play in the economy and with regard to developmental challenges in the country.”

Gordhan also spoke on the changes being implemented at the SOEs, as well as the individuals approved by Cabinet as directors of boards. 

Denel board

  • Ms. Monhla Hlahla as Chairperson
  • Ms. Nonzukiso Zukie Siyotula
  • Mr Madla Martin Mnisi
  • Mr. Nhlanhla Rigney Kunene
  • Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala
  • Lieutenant General (retired) Temba Templeton Matanzima
  • Dr. Gloria Serone
  • Mr. Talib Sadik
  • Ms Susan (Sue) Rabkin
  • Dr. Sibusiso Sibisi
  • Mr. Thamsanqa Magazi
  • Dr. Hennelie Nel
  • General Siphiwe Nyanda
  • Ms. Kabelo Lehloenya
  • Ms Mmakeaya Magoro Tryphosa Ramano as Chairperson 
  • Mr. Ronald Ozzy Lamola
  • Mr Thulani Makiti Norman Kgomo
  • Mrs. Thandiwe January-McLean
  • Mr. Kugan Harikrishna Thaver
  • Mr Bongiwe Mpondo
  • Ms. Hlengiwe Thandeka Mkhathini
  • Dr. Thabi Leoka
  • Mr. Ahmed Ismail Bassa

Transnet board

  • Mr Popo Molefe as Chairperson
  • Ms. Pho Emily Letlape
  • Mr. Louis von Zeuner
  • Ms. Ursula Nobulali Fikelepi
  • Ms. Dimakatso Chatherine Matshoga
  • Ms. Ramasela Joyce Ganda
  • Prof Edward Christian Kieswetter
  • Mr. Aluwani Percy Ramabulana
  • Dr. Fholisani Sydney Mufamadi
  • Dr. Vivien McMenamin
  • Adv. Oupa Motaung
  • Ms. Gratitude Ramphaka

The boards of Alexkor and Safcol are yet to be finalised.

Gordhan also shared the mandates of the boards, among these include for board members to execute their duties diligently, reinstill an ethical culture at SOEs, ensure good governance, accountability and transparency is restores and maintain "necessary independence" from management for effective oversight.

Gordhan also charged boards to investigate allegations of corruption and to ensure that if there is evidence of "malfeasance" to act decisively and hold relevant individuals to account and recover funds which were misappropriated.

When asked if Eskom officials who resigned will still be held to account if they are implicated in wrongdoing, Gordhan stressed that resignations do not exempt officials from a probe into their roles in state capture or in "stealing" from institutions. 

"Resignation is by no means granting of exemption or exception of accountability," he said. 

Board members are also mandated to ensure financial sustainability of enterprises, appoint competent executive management teams, put in place adequate controls and oversight, rebuild the credibility and confidence in SOEs and reposition SOEs assets that serve citizens as entities deliver on their mandates.

*UPDATE: This article was updated to include more information on board appointments and the mandate of boards. 

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