JOHANNESBURG –The Public Servants Association (PSA) has condemned the appointment of Eskom chairman Jabu Mabuza as the power utility's acting chief executive, saying it expected that the entire board and senior management of Eskom to be replaced after it posted disastrous financial results on Tuesday.
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan announced on Monday that Mabuza would serve as the interim CEO of Eskom for three months after Phakamani Hadebe's resignation left the position vacant.
This means that Mabuza is now Eskom's interim executive chairperson, acting chief executive of Eskom Holdings, and acting group chief executive of Eskom.
Gordhan reiterated on Tuesday that the appointment adhered to all necessary regulations, including the Companies Act and the King Reports on Corporate Governance, as Mabuza will be chief executive for three months while Eskom is finalizing the appointment of the permanent CEO.
But the PSA, in a statement on Wednesday, said while this appointment might not be viewed as illegal.
The PSA said Mabuza's dual roles showed a lack of good cooperative governance, especially with the power utility having lost R20.7 billion for the 2018/19-financial year while the country’s economy dives deeper into a crisis.
"It cannot be that the minister of public enterprises could not find any better-qualified candidate for this position in the entire country," the PSA said.
"This decision is viewed as extending the powers of ministers, going against sound governance principles, the lack of which has led to the current problems experienced in Eskom.
"Following these disastrous losses and continuous bailouts by over-burdened taxpayers, it would be expected that the entire board and senior management be replaced, not that Mr Mabuza be given additional powers."
The workers union said there had been no progress on how to rescue the utility financially during Mabuza's time as Eskom chairperson.
"The PSA is horrified by this decision, which simply demonstrates that there is no real desire by government to uphold good corporate governance, ethical behaviour and root out mismanagement," it said.
"The PSA calls on Minister Pravin Gorhan not to spite his face by being comfortable with a yes-sir brigade around him. Eskom is a national crisis that requires a sober-mindedness approach."
African News Agency (ANA)