Zola Tsotsi
Eskom’s Zola Tsotsi steps down following an Eskom board meeting. Pic credit: Gallo Images / Business Day / Russell Roberts

On Monday the Eskom board accepted the presentation made by director and chairperson Mr Zola Tsotsi where he defended himself against the allegations of “misconduct involving dishonesty”. The Board and Tsotsi later discussed a constructive way forward for the state-owned power utility.

Following this discussion, Mr Tsotsi agreed to step down as a Director and Chairperson of the Board, Eskom said in a short statement this morning.

Tsotsi indicated that the board had unity of purpose and that his decision to step down was in the interest of the company and the country and was done in order to allow the board to focus on the core issues facing the utility, Eskom stated.

The board feels that this action will allow Eskom to focus on the core challenges facing the utility and give the company a new set of legs to regain stakeholder confidence in ensuring the important work of meeting the energy needs of the country.

Eskom has appointed acting chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane who spoke on behalf of the board thanking Tsotsi for “the selfless decision he has taken in placing the interests of the company and the nation first.”

What led to Tsotsi stepping down?

Earlier this month, the Eskom Board announced that they will be commissioning an independent enquiry on the current status of the business and its challenges.

It was here that Tsotsi said: “To ensure that this process is as transparent and uninhibited as possible, the Board has also resolved that four of its senior executives, including the Chief Executive, should step down for the duration of this enquiry”.

Unsure of his own fate, Tsotsi had feelings that the board had wanted to remove him since its appointment in December.

“I have it on good authority the board planned to pass a vote of no confidence against me at its first scheduled sitting on February 26, but that meeting never happened. The next meeting on March 11 passed a resolution to have me removed and two days later went to the minister”, Tsotsi said.

According to a notice of the meeting which was seen by The Sunday Independent, Tsotsi was accused of having procured the services of Linnell without the board’s knowledge and without following prescribed processes.

“In doing so, the director crossed the line from being a non-executive director to exercising executive power without the requisite authority,” the notice said.

“The notice proposes a resolution for Tsotsi’s removal with immediate effect and must |be passed by a simple majority |of members present and entitled to vote”, The Sunday Independent reported.