JOHANNESBURG, June 13 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has welcomed the resignation of embattled Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane, and called for the immediate resignation of all other remaining board members.
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown announced late on Monday night that Ngubane had tendered his resignation effective immediately, and appointed Zethembe Khoza as the interim board chairman until new appointments are approved by Cabinet.
The Eskom board is now made up of Khoza as chairperson, chief financial officer Anoj Singh, independent non-executive directors Pathmanathan Naidoo, Giovanni Leonardi, and Chwayita Mabude.
The chief executive position remains vacant after the Inter-Ministerial Committee rescinded Brian Molefe’s reappointment, while Matshela Koko is on leave pending an investigation into possible conflict of interest.
The NUM said in a statement that the remaining Eskom board members were a disgrace to both Eskom and the government.
“We need men and women with integrity who will also care about the well-being of the employees who are the only source of ‘lights on’ agenda,” the NUM said.
“As they all resign, we must also call upon the government to be decisive and come out very clear on the issue surrounding the reversal of closure of the five power stations as pronounced by former chief executive, Brian Molefe on his short return to Eskom before his reappointment was rescinded.”
Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said that Ngubane’s shock late-night resignation would not exonerate him from liability for the breakdown of governance at the power utility.
DA spokesperson on public enterprises, Natasha Mazzone, said in a midnight statement that Ngubane still had much to answer for as his resignation came “hot on the heels of damning revelations of the capture of Eskom leadership by the Guptas, and the breakdown of corporate governance at Eskom”.
Mazzone said that allegations by former Mineral Resources Minister, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, that Molefe and Ngubane had tried to strong-arm him to withdraw Glencore’s Optimum mining licences in order to guarantee that the Guptas takeover Glencore’s coal mines had yet to be probed.