Jabu Mabuza
Eskom Acting Group Chief Executive Officer, Jabu Mabuza

Eskom’s new board is not taking a back seat in the management of South Africa’s state-owned utility, whipping it into shape.

Yesterday, the utility’s board chairperson, Jabu Mabuza, took an aggressive stance threatening Eskom’s employees who conduct business with the power utility with dismissal.

He has given 10 days for the power utility’s staff to end their business contracts with Eskom or resign from the company.​

“We cannot have Eskom people [staff] supplying to Eskom,” said Mabuza.

“Either you choose to be an employee or a supplier. For all those doing this, we are giving you 10 days to come clean or face termination,” he challenged.

Jabu Mabuza instilling corporate governance

This stern warning was given yesterday during a visit to Eskom’s head office in Johannesburg by parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises.

The committee praised the board and said it is encouraged by the decisions it is taking since being appointed on 22 January, but is still concerned about the power utility’s liquidity.

The meeting’s objective was to establish a working relationship between board and management to ensure the viability of the company.

The board assured the committee that it was dealing with governance challenges.

“The resignations and suspensions of senior managers that oversaw the decline at the company attest to the urgency that the board and the acting group chief executive officer have placed in dealing with these challenges,” said the committee.

The portfolio committee is hopeful that investors will recognise the work being done by the new board and new senior management.

It raised concern over the R20 billion ($1.7 billion) in arrears, which municipalities owe Eskom. The committee intends to engage with the portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs to find solutions.

The comings and goings at Eskom

Since the board’s appointment, there have been three resignations, three terminated contracts and two suspensions.

These include Anoj Singh, who resigned as chief financial officer and Prish Govender who resigned as acting head of group capital.

Sean Maritz, the former acting chief executive officer of Eskom, was placed on permanent suspension on Wednesday. Maritz had been temporarily suspended from the power utility last Friday.

Eskom also suspended group head of generation Matshela Koko on Wednesday. Four charges have been laid against him, including one that he misled Parliament when he appeared before the portfolio committee for the Eskom Inquiry. Read more: Interim financial results: Eskom not out of the woods yet

Featured image: Jabu Mabuza. Source: Moneyweb

African Utility Week