Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters
The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and an NGO are demanding the removal of the entire Eskom board for gross mismanagement, incompetence and for plunging the state-owned entity (SOE) into a corporate governance crisis.

In a statement yesterday, Numsa condemned board chairperson and group chief executive Jabu Mabuza, the board and senior executive management for Stage 2 load shedding which was implemented last week, including into the weekend.

The 338000-member strong union was responding to a statement issued by Eskom where the power utility said the electricity system remained constrained, and that load shedding could return at short notice.

The statement from Eskom read: “The electricity system remains constrained and vulnerable and any unexpected shift such as unplanned breakdowns could result in load shedding at short notice.”

Numsa secretary-general Irvin Jim said the union viewed this statement as a deliberate mismanagement of Eskom, and economic sabotage.

“Their goal is to justify the privatisation of Eskom, in order to benefit white monopoly capital, including the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers.”

In the last financial year, the Eskom board reported a loss of almost R21 billion, making it one of the worst performances ever put out by the SOE.

“An important institution such as Eskom can’t be headed by someone whose highest qualification is a matric. Furthermore, he has zero generation or Eskom work experience. Whenever load shedding takes place, there are companies who benefit from the crisis. We demand to know which companies those are, and who the diesel suppliers are,” Jim said.

Phaphano Phasha, the chairperson of the Anti-Poverty Forum NGO, which has lodged various complaints with the public protector’s office, said a general rule of corporate governance is transparency, accountability and separation of duties.

However, this was not the case at Eskom as the SOE has re-written the book on corporate governance when it made Mabuza the chief executive and the chairperson while he’s a service provider, Phasha said.

Attempts to solicit comment from Mabuza have been unsuccessful.