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Brown unveils Eskom's new board

Dec 08 2017 15:56
Yolandi Groenewald

Johannesburg - Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown has retained the current Eskom board, keeping under-fire interim chair Zethembe Khoza in his position until Eskom's 2018 Annual General Meeting,

It was widely expected that Brown would make big adjustments, but she opted to appoint only two new people. 

Brown said her strategy is to recruit specialist business expertise to fill four additional vacant board positions prior to the annual general meeting in June 2018.

The new Eskom board will serve for the next three years.

The new Eskom board, approved by Cabinet this week, comprises Khoza, Dr Pat Naidoo, Giovanni Leonardi, Dr Pulane Molokwane, Simphiwe Dingaan, Dr Banothile Makhubela and Sathiaseelan Gounden. The two new board members are Professor Malegapuru Makgoba and Professor Tshepo Mongalo.

Makgoba is an internationally recognised public health advocate, and is the current Health Ombud of South Africa. He is a former principal of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is the current deputy chair of the National Planning Commission.

Brown said Makgoba was highly regarded as a transformation and ethics authority, and well versed in government policy, corporate governance and human resources.

Mongalo 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 are said to be invaluable to Eskom’s board. Four positions were left vacant. 

Brown said an additional candidate, who has business strategy expertise and was approved by Cabinet, ultimately declined his nomination, citing the highly charged environment in which Eskom operates.

She said this situation reflects the difficulty she faced in putting together a strong board.

The minister said she was mindful that the shareholder representative is not an operational position. Yet she expected the board to take control and lead the company in taking decisive action in addressing the challenges of leadership, governance and ethics.

“I will be instructing the board that the appointment of a new Group Chief Executive is an absolute priority,” she said.

The board also had to deal decisively with the audit qualification to avoid a repeat, and ensuing investigations . She said the suspensions at EXCO level must be prioritised and finalised expeditiously.

"These issues must be addressed in order to improve the Eskom brand, investor confidence and performance of the company at all levels," she said. "The board and management must take strides, within its control, to address the internal control deficiencies and the finalisation of Eskom’s own internal investigations."

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