Eskom aims to turn a new leaf

2010-04-27 15:48

Johannesburg - New management at Eskom has apparently taken a conscious decision to look anew at the power utility's corporate governance policies in a bid to avoid reputational damage.

According to Eskom's finance director Paul O'Flaherty, the power utility would prefer to avoid the type of controversy it created by awarding tenders to Hitachi Power Africa, in which South Africa's ruling party had an indirect stake through its Chancellor House investment arm.

"In the next few weeks the chairperson [Mpho Makwana] and I will have a conversation on whether we should bring the Chancellor House matter to the board when it next meets towards the end of May," O'Flaherty recently told "As executive directors we normally put the board agenda together."

Eskom's board has not met since before the power utility was awarded a R28bn World Bank loan to complete the construction of the Medupi power station. O'Flaherty and Makwana are the only executive directors sitting on the company's board.

The reason why O'Flaherty said the board might have to discuss the Chancellor House issue, is because he feels Eskom has to turn over a new leaf and start winning friends.

The Eskom board had in 2008 decided there was nothing untoward about the Hitachi/Chancellor House deal, said O'Flaherty. But the controversy it has since generated has brought reputational damages to both Eskom and Hitachi.

"We have not covered ourselves with glory in the past. This is a reputational issue," said O'Flaherty. "We'll look at the lessons learnt from this. And we'll learn to manage conflict of interests better."