PRETORIA, January 21 – The African National Congress has welcomed the decisive action taken by government to speedily intervene to address the problems plaguing state energy utility Eskom.
Far reaching measures intended to improve governance as well as restore the integrity of the state-owned enterprise (SoE) were announced by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday.
“The appointment of an experienced, qualified, and credible leadership to the board of Eskom, as well as the injunction to immediately remove all executives implicated in corruption and other acts of impropriety at Eskom is in line with the key priorities of the African National Congress drawn from the 54th national conference and the January 8 statement to restore the credibility of public institutions, state-owned enterprises, and law enforcement agencies. It is also practical action responding to our commitment to confront corruption and state capture in all its forms,” ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said.
The ANC wished the newly appointed board of directors and acting CEO Phakamani Hadebe well in their quest to return Eskom to its rightful place as a high-performance organisation with an ethical leadership at the helm.
“We further assure them of our unwavering support in their mission to serve the public in line with their development mandate. We are confident that these interventions serve to bring closer the realisation of our commitment to mobilise all social partners behind an economic recovery plan based on, among others, protecting our public institutions from improper interference, stability and coherence of our economic policies, and proper governance and management of our state-owned companies,” Kodwa said.
Earlier, Ramaphosa announced that Hadebe had been appointed Eskom acting CEO with immediate effect, while Jabu Mabuza would take over as chairman of the board. All Eskom executives facing allegations of serious corruption and other acts of impropriety, including Matshela Koko and Anoj Singh, would be “removed immediately”, he said.
The board had also been instructed to appoint a permanent group chief executive officer and a group financial officer within the next three months.
A number of measures were being taken to “strengthen governance” at Eskom, including the appointment of new board members and stabilising management at the energy parastatal.
This followed a meeting of President Jacob Zuma, 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 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 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,” he 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 Ramaposa’s leadership to deal with other structural issues, which included the funding model and other industry problems identified by the inter-ministerial committee on (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.
“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 that 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, Ramaphosa said.