The #Eskom Board has today resolved to commission an independent enquiry into the current status of the business and its challenges. The Board, in its quest to address the current challenges faced by Eskom, has deemed it prudent to seek an independent view on the status of, among other things:
• The poor performance of generation plant
• Delays in bringing the new generation plant on-stream
• High costs of primary energy
• Cash flow challenges
“To ensure that this process is as transparent and uninhibited as possible,” said Eskom Chairman, Mr Zola Tsotsi, “the Board has also resolved that four of its senior executives, including the Chief Executive, should step down for the duration of this enquiry”.
The executives who have been asked to step down while the enquiry is underway are Ms Tsholofelo Molefe (Finance Director), Mr Dan Marokane (Group Capital) and Mr Matshela Koko (Commercial and Technology). One of the current non-executive Board members, Mr Zethembe Khoza, has been asked to assume the position of interim Chief Executive. Mr Khoza will be supported by Ms Nonkululeko Veleti (Finance), Mr Abram Masango (Group Capital) and Mr Edwin Mabelane (Commercial and Technology).
“All these senior executives have been with the organization a long time,” added Mr Tsotsi, “and we are confident that they will maintain business continuity during this period”.
The Board also resolved that the independent enquiry be conducted by external parties, who will be selected within the next week. They will be given unfettered rights of access to all information deemed necessary for this probe to be successful.
The Board has emphasized that this process is a critical step towards ensuring that the situation facing Eskom improves as expeditiously as possible. “To that end, we would like to assure our customers and employees that this was done in the best interest of all our stakeholders, and we hope to come out of this with a better grasp of all the challenges facing the business, and most importantly, with solutions”, added Mr Tsotsi.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is surprised and shocked by the suspensions of the four executives at Eskom.
“It means that there is a collapse of governance. We would have expected the chairperson of the board to be fired. We did raise a concern about the reinstatement of this chairperson when the new board [had] been established.We reject the suspensions of the four executive because we were never consulted. We think that there is a bigger picture rather than to gun for these four executives,” said NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni.
“The timing is also bad because we had just made a call for Save Eskom Campaign doing things differently including the involvement of labour. Couldn’t there be a better approach to dealing with the concerns they are having. Nobody is saying somebody is corrupt or abused the resources. Government must also take responsibility rather than penalise certain individuals,” Baleni added.
The NUM reiterates its initial position to push for a Save Eskom Campaign. Part of the campaign will be to ensure that the voices of the workers are embraced in any turn-around strategy by the company. We believe that it will be a grave mistake for workers not to be consulted in generating the improvement of the parastatal.