Pay for IDC directors dips but still totals millions

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Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) directors were paid a combined R2.1 million in the 2012 financial year, with chairman Monhla Hlahla, a former Airports Company South Africa chief executive, getting the biggest fee just short of R300 000 for attending four of five meetings during the year.

Former Eskom chairman Bobby Godsell, who attended his first meeting in February, was paid R21 000 for that meeting.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, who like Godsell was appointed to the board late last year, was not paid because he did not attend his first meeting on February 28.

However, Eskom chief executive Brian Dames, who is also a new board member, was paid R45 000 for that meeting.

According to the annual financial statements for 2012, the figure of total remuneration for IDC directors was down from R3.2m in the previous financial year.

“The difference in directors’ remuneration can be attributed to the reduction in the number of meetings held during the period under review,” the state-owned development financier said.

Nimrod Zalk, a deputy director-general in the Department of Trade and Industry, was not paid because he is employed by the department “and does not earn director’s fees for services rendered to the IDC”.

And Johnny Copelyn “does not derive any financial benefit from services rendered to the IDC… His fees were paid directly to JCI”, the annual report says.

It states that he holds 112 other directorships, with “details available upon request from the company secretary”.

Godsell, who holds seven other directorships, is described as having a BA (sociology and philosophy) degree from the University of Natal and and MA (liberal ethics) from UCT while Dames holds a BSc (Hons) from the University of the Western Cape and an MBA from Stanford. All the directors, including Vavi, are listed as directors of Findevco, described as a financial development company.

Why exactly Dames is paid fees on top of his R8.2m Eskom salary is a mystery.

Clean power

Talks on clean energy gained momentum last week as the solar industry held its annual conference in Cape Town. Later in the week Parliament sat to investigate ways to fund green energy projects.

This week promises more of the same as the Clean Power Africa conference – incorporating Hydropower Africa and Solar Energy Africa – begins in the Mother City this morning. Let’s hope the Minister of Energy, Dipuo Peters, can offer the conference delegates something tangible as it was clear last week that they were tired of all the talk and want to see action.

Last week the case pleaded by Doug Kuni, the managing director of the SA Independent Power Producers Association, that renewables could close the country’s electricity deficit gap and meet Eskom halfway, was well received.

From a slightly different angle, Frost & Sullivan’s debate yesterday on a proposed carbon tax re-emphasised the need for South Africa to take quicker steps in moving away from coal dependency to cleaner energy technologies.

New analysis of the carbon tax market from the consultancy showed that imposing a carbon tax could harm certain industries, particularly those that could easily move their businesses elsewhere.

The situation could worsen as companies who won’t be able to pass on the carbon tax cost to the consumers might close down, said Frost & Sullivan’s team leader for energy and power, Johan Muller.

But if the argument remained that South Africa would not be able to avoid a carbon tax, if it carried on with its business-as-usual approach.

Taxing carbon dioxide emissions is just one of the ways in which the government is aiming to take steps to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas output, as it will take a long time before we can achieve a green economy remotely resembling that of leading exemplar Germany.

1time

Anyone who has flown on local airlines in Europe or the US realises how good ours are in comparison. Low-cost airline 1time has played an important part in our fiercely competitive industry and setting and keeping those standards, which is why it has an estimated 15 percent of our domestic market and many regular passengers.

Unfortunately, like many other airlines all over the world, it has been hit by the soaring price of fuel which, after apparently easing off a little, has set off on an upward trend again.

Several US airlines, when in trouble, have successfully applied for Chapter 11 protection, a measure that has enabled them to trade back into profitability from bankruptcy.

The South African equivalent of business rescue is new to us but it should enable some companies that have run into trouble – including 1time, which applied successfully for it last month – to do the same. It certainly has the support of many of its regular passengers who have responded to a Facebook campaign, Rescue 911time, launched just over a week ago by software company Eliance.

Chief executive Blacky Komani says this support will underpin the airline’s continued success. He reassures supporters that it was business as usual for 1time as it works towards recovery.

Operations have been running so smoothly that “we have again beaten traditional as well as low-cost carriers in on-time performance across South Africa for the fourth month in a row”.

Erik Venter, the chief executive of Comair, unhesitatingly laid the blame for 1time’s troubles on its lack of new generation, fuel-economic planes.

Comair is replacing its older aircraft with a new generation fleet for low-cost rival kulula.com.

1time tried to do so but apparently failed to obtain the necessary finance.

Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions from Donwald Pressly, Londiwe Buthelezi and Audrey D’Angelo.


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