JOHANNESBURG - The Eskom board this week pushed former acting chief executive Johnny Dladla out of his influential position - after a mere four months at the helm of the troubled power utility - to make way for another temporary head, Sean Maritz.

Eskom said it had introduced a new role of rotating acting chief executives in an effort to embed organisation stability. The utility said it would soon embark on a recruitment process to find a permanent candidate for the position.

Maritz is information technology group executive. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) described the changes as highly agitating and said they would weaken steps to stabilise Eskom. NUM energy sector co-ordinator Paris Mashego said it was a bad decision that would only increase competition among directors.

“The NUM is astonished by this shallow reasoning of the (board) chairperson (Zethembe Khoza), who is unable to steer the board in the right direction for the attainment of the stakeholder mandate and halt corruption in this parastatal,” Mashego said.

Dladla was appointed in June following the suspension of acting chief executive Matshela Koko, who was placed on special leave after reports emerged that a company at which his stepdaughter was a director bagged about R1 billion in Eskom tenders in 11 months. He was also accused of helping the controversial Gupta family buy Glencore’s Optimum Coal in 2015, which supplied coal to Eskom’s Hendrina power station.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse announced this week that it had laid criminal charges against Koko over the irregularities and fraud and corruption allegations. Koko was appointed to the position in December after former chief Brian Molefe resigned following the “State of Capture” report.

Meanwhile, DA public enterprises spokesperson Natasha Mazzone has said Eskom’s plans to recover more than R1.5bn it had “unlawfully” paid to consulting firm McKinsey and the Gupta-linked Trillian last year “is evidence that there was in fact wrongdoing and that these payments were not above board”.

“After months of defending these payments, the power utility now wants to recover the money. “Had the DA not caught Eskom out in the lie by submitting a parliamentary question to Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, regarding the relationship between Eskom, McKinsey and Trillian, Eskom would have never come clean.”