SA's Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown met with Eskom's new board chairman Jabu Mabuza on Wednesday. Photo: Supplied by ministry of public enterprises

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom chairman Jabu Mabuza on Tuesday said that he had met with Public Entreprises Minister, Lynne Brown, to agree on clear defining roles between the newly-elected board of the state-owned power utility and the department in a bid to avoid duplication.

There have been recent instances of mixed messages between the Eskom board and Brown, who represents the Eskom shareholder, where the power utility's executives allegedly misrepresented facts about the state of the utility to the minister.

Eskom reported that its liquid assets had declined to R9 billion at the end of September 2017 from R30 billion a year previously due to tariff increases of only 2.2 percent and a 1.9 percent decrease in electricity sales volumes, offset by cost containment measures.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of R30 billion, was slightly down from R32 billion in September 2016.

Net profit after tax declined from R10 billion in September 2016 to R6 billion in September 2017, with higher depreciation and net finance cost due to new build units coming online.

Mabuza said that the financial and governance challenges currently facing Eskom required quick and decisive action such as inculcating a renewed culture of good governance and entrenching financial and business discipline as a foundation to restoring the credibility and integrity of this institution.

"The board strongly believes that what underpins the stabilisation of Eskom is fulfilling our duty to improve trust and restore investor confidence in order to access financial markets and to re-establish the credibility," Mabuza said.

"A critical part of restoring governance is defining a framework within which we as a board of Eskom can operate alongside our shareholder. We have discussed and agreed on a framework about where the duties of the board start, and where they end, where the duties of the minister and department start and where they stop. Our mandate is non-negotiable; we need to root out financial mismanagement and corruption at Eskom."

Mabuza thanked the 47,000 employees of Eskom, saying that they continued to work hard and remain dedicated to keeping the lights on despite the reputational onslaught that faces the company, and also said the board had "complete faith" in interim chief executive Phakamani Hadebe.

 - African News Agency (ANA)