Mabuza's appointment evidence of transformation of SOEs‚ says BLSA

21 January 2018 - 11:11 By Naledi Shange
Jabu Mabuza
Jabu Mabuza
Image: Business Times

Business Leadership SA (BLSA) has welcomed the appointment of the new Eskom chairman‚ Jabu Mabuza‚ and interim group chief executive Phakamani Hadebe‚ saying it is evidence of the government’s commitment to transformation.

“This is a clear display of commitment by government to the transformation of our state-owned corporations. We have always maintained that the reform and restoration of the independence‚ integrity‚ impartiality and objectivity of public institutions‚ including our SOCs‚ is a matter of absolute urgency and should be a priority‚" said BLSA CEO‚ Bonang Mohale.

“We believe the composition of the board‚ bringing a mix of diverse but specialist skills in finance‚ governance‚ engineering‚ business and commercial is necessary to quickly restore stability to the operations and finances of Eskom and shows what is possible when there is political will. We thank all the many South Africans who have answered the call to serve their country through serving on the Eskom board.”

Mabuza's appointment was announced in a statement on Saturday with government saying the appointments were a measure to strengthen governance at Eskom and stabilise management at the parastatal.

Mabuza has served as the chairman of Telkom and has been credited with the turnaround of the telecommunications provider‚ which in 2012 was floundering financially.

Mohale suggested that Mabuza was more than capable of doing the same for Eskom.

"Not only does he bring a wealth of commercial experience and illustrious experience from both the public and private sectors‚ he also brings with him unimpeachable integrity – a trait that is so badly needed right now in our country‚" he said.

The new board has been given three months to appoint a permanent group chief executive and group chief financial officer. It has also been directed to "immediately remove all Eskom executives who are facing allegations of serious corruption and other acts of impropriety".

This includes recently reinstated head of group capital Matshela Koko and suspended CFO Anoj Singh.

Mohale‚ however‚ said those alleged to have had a hand in Eskom’s financial woes should still be held accountable.

"The appointment of the board should not stop efforts to bring numerous former non-executive and executive directors‚ including Eskom’s most recent interim chairman Mr Zethembe Khoza‚ to fully account for their actions in plunging the corporation into its current crisis. We hope the current inquiry by the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises into Governance Failures at Eskom uncovers all the malfeasance that has gripped Eskom in the last five years.”