Phakamani Hadebe has been appointed Eskom acting CEO with immediate effect, while Jabu Mabuza will take over as chairman of the board, and all Eskom executives facing allegations of serious corruption and other acts of impropriety, including Matshela Koko and Anoj Singh, will be “immediately removed”, the presidency announced on Saturday.
A number of measures were being taken to to “strengthen governance” at Eskom, including the appointment of new board members and stabilising management at the energy parastatal, it said.
This followed a meeting of President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Friday to address urgent problems at the company. This intervention would be ratified by Cabinet at its next meeting.
“Eskom is critical to the South African economy. As a key enabler of economic growth and social transformation any further deterioration of Eskom’s financial and operational conditions could have a severe impact on the country,” the presidency said.
The company had been facing several problems, including a weak financial position, declining revenues, and governance failures, which threatened the sustainability of the company in future.
Therefore, government had decided on immediate measures to strengthen governance and management. This was the first step towards restoring confidence in the company, improving its financial position, and restoring its operational performance.
The new board members are Jabu Mabuza (chairman); Sifiso Dabengwa; Sindi Mabaso-Koyana; Mark Lamberti; Tshepo Mongalo; Malegapuru Makgoba; Busisiwe Mavuso; Nelisiwe Magubane; Rod Crompton; George Sebulela; Pulane Molokwane; Banothile Makhubela; and Jacky Molisane.
“Government has recommended the appointment of Mr Phakamani Hadebe as the acting group chief executive with immediate effect. Further, the board is directed to appoint a permanent group chief executive and group chief financial officer within the next three months,” the presidency said.
“The board is directed to immediately remove all Eskom executives who are facing allegations of serious corruption and other acts of impropriety, including Mr Matshela Koko and Mr Anoj Singh,” it said.
Government called on all Eskom employees and other stakeholders who may have evidence of wrongdoing to bring this to the attention of law enforcement agencies so that culprits could be brought to book.
The ministers of public enterprises, energy, and finance would work together under Ramaphosa’s leadership to deal with other structural issues, which included the funding model and other industry problems identified by the inter-ministerial committee on state-owned enterprises (SoEs) reform.
“We are confident this intervention will restore the important contribution Eskom makes to our economy. We are determined to address the damage that has been done to this institution and place it on a new path of efficiency and integrity,” said Ramaphosa, who also chairs the inter-ministerial committee on SoE reform.
“Government calls on all stakeholders, employees, suppliers, and members of the public to work together to ensure that these measures are successful. For South Africa to flourish, Eskom must work and work well,” he said.
With the appointment of the new board and acting CEO, government firmly believed Eskom could be returned to financial sustainability and contribute positively to the objective of shared prosperity.
Government would continue to act decisively to address problems at key SoEs to restore public and investor confidence and to ensure that they fulfil their economic and developmental mandates, the presidency said.