JOHANNESBURG - The appointment of a new board of directors for power utility Eskom will go a long way towards rebuilding confidence in the leadership in South Africa and in the economy, the Banking Association of South Africa (Basa) said on Sunday.

"This decision is one of the latest in several steps taken by government since the appointment of the Deputy President [Cyril Ramaphosa] as the president of the ANC," Basa MD Cas Coovadia said.

The new board, under the leadership of the newly-appointed chairman Jabu Mabuza should move quickly to strengthen the executive team at Eskom, get rid of those in the team under investigation for corrupt activities, address the “going concern” crisis, and enable the organisation to play the critical role it should to enable economic growth, he said.

"This is one of many opportunities to place South Africa back on the path of economic growth and job creation. If South Africa is to position itself as 'open for business' at next week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, government will need to provide clarity on what immediate actions it plans to take to re-establish both domestic and international confidence in South Africa as an investment destination.

"The Banking Association South Africa welcomes this positive development and wishes the new Eskom board well in the significant tasks ahead," Coovadia said.

On Saturday, Ramaphosa announced far reaching measures intended to improve governance as well as restore the integrity of Eskom.

Phakamani Hadebe had been appointed acting CEO with immediate effect, while Telkom chairman Jabu Mabuza would take over as chairman of the Eskom board. All Eskom executives facing allegations of serious corruption and other acts of impropriety, including Matshela Koko and Anoj Singh, would be "removed immediately". The new board had also been instructed to appoint a permanent group chief executive officer and a group financial officer within the next three months.

"Eskom is critical to the South African economy. As a key enabler of economic growth and social transformation any further deterioration of Eskom’s financial and operational conditions could have a severe impact on the country," he said.

The new board members are Jabu Mabuza (chairman); Sifiso Dabengwa; Sindi Mabaso-Koyana; Mark Lamberti; Tshepo Mongalo; Malegapuru Makgoba; Busisiwe Mavuso; Nelisiwe Magubane; Rod Crompton; George Sebulela; Pulane Molokwane; Banothile Makhubela; and Jacky Molisane.

“We are confident this intervention will restore the important contribution Eskom makes to our economy. We are determined to address the damage that has been done to this institution and place it on a new path of efficiency and integrity," said Ramaphosa.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE