Companies / 6 January 2020, 2:23pm / Ayanda Mdluli
CAPE TOWN – The chairperson of technology group EOH and member of the interim board of the state-owned Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Dr Xolani Humphrey Mkhwanazi passed away peacefully after a short illness in the early hours of Saturday morning.
A statement released by EOH stated that Mkhwanazi passed away peacefully in his sleep at Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Parktown Johannesburg after he was admitted on December 14.
According to EOH, Dr Mkhwanazi was appointed to the JSE listed EOH board on the 5th June 2019, as chairman and independent non-executive director, lending his tremendous credibility and insight to the company and the board at a most critical time for the organisation.
On top of his many accolades, Mkhwanazi was also the Chancellor of the Vaal University of Technology (VUT).
Stephen van Coller, EOH Group chief executive said: “I worked closely with Dr Mkhwanazi who played a pivotal role in helping to guide EOH towards a better future.
"Mkhwanazi led the board deliberations on all group matters, but most notably during the tough deliberations around the findings of the ENSafrica investigation commissioned by EOH into public sector contracts. During this period Mkhwanazi braved a difficult time always striving to do the right thing. He grasped the issues and dealt with them quickly. He will be sorely missed.”
Andrew Mthembu, currently EOH lead independent non-executive director has been appointed interim chairperson while the board runs a process to appoint a new chairperson.
Sekgoela Sekgoela, the PIC’s Senior Specialist for Investor Relations said the organisation was deeply saddened by the passing of Mkhwanazi. “The PIC further offers its deepest and sincere condolences to the Mkhwanazi family on their loss. Dr Mkhwanazi served on the PIC Board in various capacities, including Chairman of the Investment Committee, Deputy Chairperson and Acting Chairperson and made a valuable contribution to the Board.”
He said the passing of Mkhwanazi came at a critical time in the life of the PIC when the organisation was hard at work to restore its reputation.
“Mkhwanazi was re-appointed to the PIC Board in July 2019, alongside other board members to assist with this process. His experience and skills would no doubt have been valuable during this transitional period. The Board appreciates and will solely miss the continuity that he was providing to the Board. The PIC wishes strength and comfort to his family, friends and colleagues,” he said.
Sandile Zungu, the President of the Black Business Council (BBC) also expressed his condolences and deepest sympathies to the family of Mkhwanazi.
“I remember Mkhwanazi during his time at BHP Billiton. He was always an informal go-to person for black businesses that were doing business with BHP Billiton. He was always very supportive and providing the best possible guidance on the best ways to tackle relationships with multi-nationals,” he said.
Zungu said the BBC viewed Mkhwanazi as a kind-hearted technocrat that was unbeatable in his game.
“He was a master on energy matters,” said Zungu.
Mkhwanazi was the Deputy Chairperson of the PIC Board and Chairperson of the PIC Investment Committee at the PIC since October 1, 2017.
He held a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Applied Physics as well as a Master of Science in Applied Physics and a Bachelor of Science (Maths and Physics).
He also held a number of directorships in companies such as Gibela Train Transportation, Odgers Berndston South Africa, Private Label Promotion, South32 Limited and Murray &Roberts Holdings.