JOHANNESBURG - The work of the Eskom sustainability task team will not be compromised after one of its experienced members resigned yesterday, said energy expert Chris Yelland. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa said he respected the decision by Brian Dames to step down from the task team, following calls from labour that he should resign owing to an alleged conflict of interest. Dames is chief executive of African Rainbow Energy and Power and a former Eskom chief executive. 

“Mr Dames has noted concerns raised regarding a perceived conflict of interest relating to the scope of work and terms of reference of the Eskom Sustainability Task Team,” Ramaphosa said. “Based on these concerns, Dames has requested to be released from the task team. President Ramaphosa has expressed his appreciation for Dames’s willingness to serve and respects the judgment he has exercised.” Yelland said he, too, respected Dames’s decision to step down. 

“He is holding himself to a much higher standard compared to other people with potential conflicts of interest,” he said. “I respect him. I’ve never heard anything bad about Dames. I think he left Eskom on a high note, following what he called political interference by then minister Malusi Gigaba.” Yelland said the task team would miss Dames’s knowledge and expertise at the power utility. 

“However, I don’t think the work of the task team will be compromised. Its members are of the highest integrity and they have a huge breadth of knowledge and experience.” The task team was appointed by Ramaphosa a week ago. The team includes Anton Eberhard, Tsakani Mthombeni, Sy Gourrah, Grové Steyn, Frans Baleni, Mick Davis and Busisiwe Vilakazi.