Molefe named as Eskom’s new Mr Fix-It
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Johannesburg - Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown believes she has got a “Mr Fix-It” in Brian Molefe at the helm of the ailing power utility Eskom.
So confident was Brown on Friday that Molefe – the current chief executive of Transnet – was “the right man for the job” that she’s looking beyond his acting role at Eskom.
“Mr Molefe will be acting chief executive for the next three months (while Eskom current chief executive Tsediso Matona remains suspended during an inquiry),” she said. “I’d like to see him working here for the next year, turning Eskom around.
“If Mr Matona returns, I’d like them to work together. If Molefe can’t be chief executive, we’ll find another title for him.
“What I need is a chief executive who can do the job… who can get the job done from the get-go.”
Matona was suspended following an Eskom board decision to institute an inquiry into poor performance of Eskom’s generation plants, delays in bringing the new plant on-stream, high costs of primary energy and cash-flow problems.
On Friday Brown said the decision to institute an inquiry has created uncertainty about Eskom’s ability to ensure security of supply, and the successful delivery of its build programme.
She said the terms of reference of the inquiry that will be led by Dentons (a global law firm) had been concluded.
Brown said Molefe’s appointment, though in an acting capacity, was meant to stabilise the executive leadership of the embattled state-owned entity.
“I don’t want to deal with leadership (problems).
“If an executive or a board member has to go, they must go,” she said.
“His experience in having turned around the Public Investment Corporation and providing stability at Transnet is a clear indication that Mr Molefe is no stranger in leading complex institutions.
“I am confident that we will be able to draw on his experience and understanding of the financial markets.”
Brown said Eskom was a strategic asset and one of the major utilities on the continent, therefore it was critical that it operate optimally, and contribute to economic growth in the country.
She appealed to Eskom executives and employees to welcome Molefe and provide him with all the necessary support that he would require.
Molefe’s replacement at Transnet, Brown said, would be announced on Monday after the Transnet board had considered three potential successors.
Molefe has been involved with entities such as Telkom, the Airports Company of SA, the National Empowerment Fund and the Export Credit Insurance Corporation.
On Friday Molefe said his immediate priority would be to deal with load shedding and to minimise its impact on the country.
He said his medium-to-long-term plans would be to explore alternative energy sources, deal with the existing problems of power generation and reduce Eskom’s current reliance upon coal.