Eskom board a recipe for disaster without key engineering experience

Former Eskom Acting CEO Matshela Koko. Picture: Bheki Radebe/African News Agency (ANA)

Former Eskom Acting CEO Matshela Koko. Picture: Bheki Radebe/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 17, 2019


Durban - THE men and women who sit on the Eskom board are in the dark when it comes to managing a power utility.

Only two of the 13 people on the board have experience in the energy sector. And the former acting chief executive of the power utility, Matshela Koko, said this was a recipe for disaster.

The board is chaired by Jabu Mabuza. Phakamani Hadebe is group chief executive and Calib Cassim the chief financial officer. All have impressive CVs, but not in energy.

The only two board members with experience in the sector are Nelisiwe Magubane and Dr Rod Crompton.

According to her profile on Eskom's website, Magubane is a registered engineer who served as the director-general of energy in 2009.

Crompton is the director of the energy leadership centre at the Wits Business School and has more than 40 years of experience in energy.

The board was appointed last year.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said Eskom would collapse in coming weeks if it did not get money from the government.

He also told Parliament this week that he had roped in engineers from Italian energy company Enel to look into the maintenance of Eskom's power stations.

Koko, who left Eskom under a cloud, said the current board was not capable of leading Eskom because they lacked the necessary experience.

“This whole board doesn't have experience in generation operation, which is key to running the power utility,” said Koko.

The issue was also highlighted on Twitter. Comparisons were made with Britain and the US where the chief executives had more than a decade of experience compared to Hadebe, who was appointed with no experience in the sector.

Approached for comment, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe directed queries to Gordhan’s spokesperson, Adrian Lackay, who responded: “Eskom's problems didn't start in January 2018 when the current board was appointed.”

Sunday Tribune

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