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Brown and new Eskom board put the pedal to the metal

Jan 25 2018 12:55
Fin24 team

Cape Town – It’s been an eventful week at Eskom, the appointment of a new board signalling a number of changes that swept over the power utility over the past few days.

Minister Lynne Brown and Eskom’s chairperson, Jabu Mabuza, met at Megawatt Park on Wednesday to discuss the power utility's immediate priorities and how they will work together, according to Brown’s spokesperson, Colin Cruywagen.

The new board is tasked with appointing a permanent CEO and CFO in the next three months. Government recommended former Land Bank CEO and Absa Capital executive Phakamani Hadebe be appointed as Eskom’s acting group CEO in the meantime.

Singh tendered his resignation on Monday, acting head of group capital Prish Govender followed suit on Tuesday. Government wants all executives allegedly involved in corruption to be removed.

There have been growing calls for head of generation Matshela Koko to step down. Koko, who is testifying at the Eskom Inquiry, told Fin24 that he still has a crucial role to play at Eskom and that Eskom’s lenders have been unfairly demanding his dismissal.

“I have been working for Eskom for 23 years. My association with Eskom is over 31 years. Eskom took me to high school, took me to university. I have only worked for Eskom… My blood is Eskom blue,” he told the portfolio committee of public enterprises on Wednesday.

                       Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown with Jabu Mabuza. (Picture supplied)

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba who spoke to the SABC in Davos, Switzerland, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF), pleaded with Koko to step down out of his own “conscious” and “do the right thing”.

Speaking to journalists ahead of the WEF last week, Gigaba said that Eskom had the potential to collapse the SA economy. He explained that the fiscus cannot bail out the power utility.

Treasury has issued R350bn of government guarantees to Eskom, of which R275bn has already been used. Eskom needs to borrow about R60bn per year for the next four years to finish the new build programme consisting of Medupi and Kusile, Fin24 reported.

In November 2017, Fin24 reported on details from a leaked report to shareholder representative Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. It showed Eskom is estimated to have a R5bn negative liquidity position by the end of January 2018. 

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