Lynne Brown unveils new interim Eskom board

New members are Pulane Molokwane, Simphiwe Dingaan, Banothile Makhubela and Sathiaseelan Gounden

Johannesburg – Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has unveiled an interim Eskom board, which has the uphill challenge of steering the state-owned power utility out of its quagmire of controversies.

She has appointed four new interim members to the board to bring it to nine. There should be 15 members, Brown told media on Friday. They are interim board members until she takes it to Cabinet, she said, following the Eskom annual general meeting.

The new members are Pulane Molokwane, Simphiwe Dingaan, Banothile Makhubela and Sathiaseelan Gounden.

"These members, together with the two executives directors, the group chief executive officer and group chief financial officer, will constitute an interim board until their names – and others to further strengthen the Board – are taken to Cabinet for approval in the next cycle," Brown said.

"I believe the interim arrangements represent a new dawn at Eskom, which recorded positive results according to its financial results presented to the AGM today. The company is in a better financial position than it was a year and two years ago. Eskom will announce their Integrated Financial Statements on 5 July 2017.

"I have asked Eskom’s new leadership to roll up its collective sleeves and immediately address three areas of primary importance: The management of contracts, conflicts of interest, and the quality of coal supplied to Eskom."

Brown has been hinting at an overhaul of the Eskom board since Brian Molefe’s controversial R30m early pension pay-out and brief return as chief executive.

Brown said she told the board at the AGM "that it may be in Eskom’s interest to rotate the Board, but this would have to be balanced against continuity".

Board member Zethembe Khoza was last week made interim chairperson after Ben Ngubane resigned, citing personal reasons.Khoza was reappointed to the board, as was Pat Naidoo and Giovanni Leonardi.

Joining the board is Eskom veteran Johnny Dladla, who was appointed acting group chief executive on Thursday. Eskom CFO Anoj Singh is the other board member.

Brown has ordered the board to finalise the appointment of a permanent chief executive, EWN reported.

What the new leadership faces:

Molefe has taken Eskom to the Labour Court regarding taken his pension and appointment reversal, while the Economic Freedom Fighters and Democratic Alliance are continuing with their High Court application regarding Molefe's reappointment, which has been postponed pending the Labour Court process. However, that court barred Molefe from returning to work pending the outcome of the hearings.

Eskom is set to be investigated by the Special Investigating Unit, after Brown instructed the branch to probe all coal contracts and tenders at Eskom. It requires President Jacob Zuma's approval.

A Parliamentary inquiry into the maladministration, governance problems and procurement issues at Eskom will officially commence in the first week of August 2017, when the legislature resumes its activities for the third quarter.

The Public Protector will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the merits of some of the allegations that have been published as part of the #GuptaLeaks saga pointing to issues at Eskom, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and Transnet. There is still the recommendation by the former Public Protector that Zuma appoint a judicial inquiry into allegations of state capture regarding Eskom, Molefe and the Guptas.