JOHANNESBURG, October 9 – The Black Business Council (BBC) said on Monday that it was concerned by the sudden change of leadership at state-owned power utility Eskom, saying that government must give the enterprise some space and not meddle in its affairs.
This comes after Eskom last week appointed its chief information officer and group executive for information technology, Sean Maritz, as its interim group chief executive in a “rotational basis” of the executive role. He joined the executive committee in June last year after 28 years at Eskom.
Maritz replaced Johnny Dladla who occupied the role of interim group chief executive since June following the suspension of another interim group chief executive, Matshela Koko.
Eskom is filling the top job on a rotational basis but said it would in due course begin recruiting a permanent chief executive, stressing that this was crucial for organisational stability.
BBC chairman, Sello Rasethaba, said that they had met with Eskom’s top management two weeks ago and emphasized that the BBC will not tolerate corruption and bad leadership.
“The recent changes in leadership do not inspire confidence and exacerbate damage to the economy. Mr Dladla has been Acting CEO for 107 days and this will cultivate despondency for staff morale. Nobody would want to see themselves in such a work environment. Please stop the musical chairs,” Rasethaba said.
“We urge the board of Eskom to reinstate Mr. Dladla immediately and the immediate appointment of the new and capable board of directors.”
Rasethaba said that they did not understand why there was a rushed change of guard at Eskom when they have reliably learned that the power utility will have a new permanent board and permanent chief executive next month.
He said the BBC believes that the South African government must promote the reform of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) instead of playing musical chairs with the leadership of the SOEs.
“We urge the South African government to give space and not to meddle in the affairs of SOEs while promoting and rewarding successful management and punishing those who give mediocre performance,” Rasethaba said.
“The government should give priority to setting realistic objectives for Eskom, including profitability, capital structure and non-financial objectives that Eskom is expected to deliver. The OECD has suggested that the South African government professionalize SOE governing structures and refrain from short-termist political interference.”