Johannesburg - The board of directors of Eskom was expected to draw up a shortlist for the successor to former chief executive Brian Dames before the end of the month, the ministry of public enterprises said yesterday.
Mayihlome Tshwete, the spokesman for Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, said: “The directive from the minister to the Eskom board is go out and find a CEO.”
He said it would have been unfair for Gigaba to ask Dames, who had been at the helm for almost four years, to stay beyond his resignation date while his successor was being sought. Dames had wanted to leave a year earlier but was persuaded by Gigaba to stay on.
Collin Matjila, who started as acting chief executive on Tuesday, is expected to return to his post as a non-executive director after a permanent replacement is found.
However, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) wants Matjila fired. It has attacked his appointment, describing him as an individual with “questionable and dubious credentials” who had been quietly drawn into the executive layer of Eskom. It said Matjila’s appointment could only accelerate the power generator’s degeneration and failure to provide an unhindered service.
Frans Baleni, the general secretary of NUM, said the culture of consultation and co-operation that had been built over the years at Eskom had effectively been eroded.
He said labour, as a key partner, used to be consulted on the appointment of the strategic executive positions at Eskom as part of the power utility’s transformation drive.
He said NUM had been consulted when Allen Morgan was made to take an early retirement package in favour of transformation candidate Thulani Gcabashe. He said it had been the same with Jacob Maroga and Dames.
Matjila’s controversial history includes his tenure as chief of Cosatu investment arm Kopano Ke Matla. On his watch, the Financial Services Board withdrew Kopano’s licence to manage employee benefits due to “serious transgressions and possible criminality”.
He also resigned as Raubex’s chairman after it emerged that Kopano was a shareholder of the road construction company and had benefited indirectly from Raubex’s involvement in Gauteng’s e-tolling project.
Kopano is also the subject of a probe into the sale of the old Cosatu House and the purchase of the new headquarters.
Cosatu announced Matjila’s resignation from Kopano on Wednesday.
Tshwete said Gigaba would not appoint a new chief but would take the names of contenders handed to the board to the cabinet for confirmation.
“Those who are attacking Matjila’s appointment must acquaint themselves with the procedures. The board gave the minister an assurance that they had properly applied their mind. We should not allow ourselves to be distracted.”
Sources close to the Eskom board said Matjila had been appointed because he had no ambition to be the head and would only act for two to three months. They emphasised that his name was not on the shortlist.
Matjila could not be reached for comment.
December 5, 2013 - Eskom announces the resignation of chief executive Brian Dames.
January 14, 2014 - Eskom announces its reserve margin has sunk to dangerously low levels and warns of possible national load shedding.
January 19 - The National Energy Regulator of SA says no electricity tariff adjustments are on the cards.
March 6 - Eskom declares a state of emergency and starts load shedding because of wet coal.
March 31 - Brian Dames departs the hot seat of Eskom.
March 31 - Eskom says the Duvha power station in Mpumalanga has lost 600MW of generation capacity due to a boiler casing rupturing.