Insufficient change in new Eskom board
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) commends the two new appointments but is concerned about the retention of the seven members of the interim board, particularly the three from the previous board.
Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown announced the new Eskom board on Friday.
The three most long-standing members of the board are chairman Zethembe Khoza, Prof Pat Naidoo and Giovanni Leonardi.
“They were part of the board that shamefully approved ex-CEO Brian Molefe’s R30 million pension and then reappointment. Furthermore, all seven of the retained board members approved Eskom’s recent application for a 20% tariff hike to NERSA,” says OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage.
“They also presided whilst a weak and rather paltry disciplinary process has unfolded against suspended acting CE Matshela Koko and there’s still little visible action against suspended CFO Anoj Singh.
“They clearly are not tuned in to the drastic turnaround actions required to reduce the current burden of high electricity prices to the public,” says Duvenage.
Minister Brown has done little to instil confidence in Eskom’s future.
“This is a company that, for all intents and purposes, should be in business rescue. Does this board give both the public and investors much confidence in a renewed Eskom? We don’t believe that banks or investors will change their opinion about investing in Eskom with this board in place,” says Duvenage.
“What Eskom needs is a robust board that will hold the operational leadership to account for significant efficiency improvements, and that will require extreme transparency and cost cutting initiatives to turn around this monolithic and extremely sick organisation.”
The responsibility for appointing the board rests with the Minister of Public Enterprises and she must still fill the four vacant seats on the board. Brown herself has been implicated in state capture.
“The biggest problem is the president’s retention of Lynne Brown as the minister overseeing Eskom’s recovery plan,” says Duvenage.