Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. FILE PHOTO: ANA

In The News South Africa

Minister Brown names New Eskom board

JOHANNESBURG, December 8 – The department of public enterprises on Friday, announced that Cabinet approved the new board of South Africa’s state-owned power utility Eskom on a three-year term, retaining seven of the interim members and two new members.
“Cabinet has approved a new Board for Eskom on a three-year term subject to an annual review, and expressed support for Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown’s strategy to recruit specialist business expertise to fill additional vacant Board positions prior to the Annual General Meeting in June 2018,” the department said.
“The new Eskom board approved by Cabinet this week comprises (current interim Board members) Chairperson Zethembe Khoza, Dr Pat Naidoo, Giovanni Leonardi, Dr Pulane Molokwane, Simphiwe Dingaan, Dr Banothile Makhubela, Sathiaseelan Gounden, (and new Board members) Professor Malegapuru Makgoba and Professor Tshepo Mongalo.”
On Thursday, Brown’s spokesman Colin Cruywagen said the composition of the board was finalised during Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.
The embattled power utility, which is at the centre of a state capture probe, by a parliamentary committee, has come under intense public scrutiny in recent months.
Executives and board members allegedly allowed the Gupta family to have undue influence when dishing out multi million rand contracts.
The new board was expected to be in place by November 30, but due to the Cabinet meeting being postponed to this week, Brown could not make an announcement.
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba warned, during his medium-term budget policy statement in October, that defaulting on loan repayments by Eskom was the single biggest risk to the South African economy.
The department named Makgoba, the SA Health Ombudsman and former principal of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, as a new board member. Makgoba is also the chair of the deputy chair of the National Planning Commission.
“He is highly regarded as a transformation and ethics authority, and well versed in government policy, corporate governance and human resources,” the department said.
Professor Mongalo, who was also named as a new board member, is a legal practitioner and academic, expert in company law and familiar with the environment within which State-Owned Companies operate.
He served as vice-chairperson of the Department of Trade and Industry’s specialist committee on company law. His corporate financial law, business strategy, ethics and corporate governance skills will be invaluable to Eskom’s board.
The department said that an additional candidate, who has business strategy expertise and was approved by Cabinet, declined his nomination citing the “highly-charged environment in which Eskom is operating”.
“This situation reflects the difficulty the minister has faced in putting together a strong board including people of the necessary calibre and leadership gravitas.”
All the new board members went through a process of being vetted, which included the verification of their qualifications, as well as checks of any crimes and if they had any other directorships.
“I will be instructing the board that the appointment of a new group chief executive is an absolute priority,” Brown said.
The board, to be led by Khoza, until the 2018 Annual General Meeting, will be further reinforced by filling four strategic vacancies with appropriate expertise from the business sector.
African News Agency (ANA),

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