Changes to new Eskom board insufficient: OUTA

09 December 2017 - 12:14
By Timeslive
Wayne Duvenage of OUTA
Image: Sunday Times Wayne Duvenage of OUTA

The civil action group Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) says the changes to the new Eskom board are insufficient and that more changes would have provided better hope of a turnaround in the state-owned entity.

While commending the two new appointments announced by Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown on Friday‚ the organisation said it was concerned about the retention of the seven members of the interim board‚ particularly the three from the previous board.

The three longest serving members of the board are chairman Zethembe Khoza‚ Prof Pat Naidoo and Giovanni Leonardi.

“They were part of the board that shamefully approved ex-CEO Brian Molefe’s R30-million pension and then reappointment. Furthermore‚ all seven of the retained board members approved Eskom’s recent application for a 20% tariff hike to NERSA‚” said OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage.

“They also presided whilst a weak and rather paltry disciplinary process has unfolded against suspended acting CE Matshela Koko and there’s still little visible action against suspended CFO Anoj Singh.

“They clearly are not tuned in to the drastic turnaround actions required to reduce the current burden of high electricity prices to the public‚” said Duvenage.

He added that Brown had done little to instil confidence in Eskom’s future.

“This is a company that‚ for all intents and purposes‚ should be in business rescue. Does this board give both the public and investors much confidence in a renewed Eskom? We don’t believe that banks or investors will change their opinion about investing in Eskom with this board in place‚” said Duvenage.

“What Eskom needs is a robust board that will hold the operational leadership to account for significant efficiency improvements‚ and that will require extreme transparency and cost cutting initiatives to turn around this monolithic and extremely sick organisation.”

Duvenhage said Brown herself had been implicated in state capture.

“The biggest problem is the president’s retention of Lynne Brown as the minister overseeing Eskom’s recovery plan‚” he added.