Johnny Dladla

JOHANNESBURG - Opposition to Eskom’s shocking decision to remove interim chief executive Johnny Dladla intensified yesterday, with the Black Business Council (BBC) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) calling for his immediate reinstatement.

The BBC, a business grouping widely regarded as being close to the government, slammed the decision, with chairperson Sello Rasethaba describing it as shocking and disappointing.

“This is a very strategic entity to underpin black industrialists and that growth in this country is effected,” he said. Dladla’s removal is the latest controversial decision by the embattled power utility. In an unexpected move, Eskom’s interim board last week announced that Dladla would be replaced by chief information officer and group executive for information technology Sean Maritz. The board said it had taken the decision to embed organisational stability. It said Dladla would return to his role as chief executive of Eskom Rotek Industries.

Rasethaba said the recent changes in leadership at Eskom did not inspire confidence and exacerbated damage to the economy.

“Dladla has been acting chief executive for 107 days and this will cultivate despondency for staff morale,” he said. “Nobody would want to see themselves in such a work environment. Please stop the musical chairs.”

He said the instability at the helm of Eskom was likely to delay decision making.

Key decisions

“Business people are waiting for those key decisions. I can imagine how long it’s going to take the new acting chief executive to make those decisions,” said Rasethaba.

Rasethaba said the body had requested an urgent meeting with Eskom to discuss Dladla’s removal. “It’s in Eskom’s interest to realise we are a key stakeholder. It’s in their interest that they listen to us. If we feel that we are being ignored, they will be doing it at their own peril,” he said.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said the power utility was eager to meet BBC to explain the rationale of the decision. BBC president Danisa Baloyi said instability at any of the country’s state-owned companies affected economic growth.

He said the decision to remove Dladla was meant to weaken “controls and systems from detecting corruption at Eskom.” The union said Dladla was removed after he publicly stated that Eskom would recoup money that was unlawfully paid to McKinsey and Trillian totaling R1billion and R564million, respectively.

“The sins of the current Exco team and acting group chief executive Johnny Dladla was to declare the McKinsey contract unlawful, invalid and void. The NUM support Exco on its decision to recover funds unlawfully paid to McKinsey and Trillian,” said Paris Mashego, NUM Energy Sector Co-ordinator, adding that Eskom should recover the funds from McKinsey and Trillian with immediate effect. “Secondly, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown must intervene immediately.”