Johannesburg - The new Eskom board should prioritise stability within the state-owned power utility and root out corruption, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.
The DA welcomed the appointment of the new Eskom board, DA spokeswoman Natasha Mazzone said.
"We congratulate the acting CEO Mr Phakamani Hadebe and chairperson Mr Jabu Mabuza, both of whom come with excellent track records and vast financial and business experience. We wish them well in their new positions. That said, the board has a mammoth task ahead of it in order to turn things around at the struggling power utility," she said.
"Due to years of chronic mismanagement and the toxic influence of the Gupta family, Eskom is facing financial and operational collapse. This entity has been at the centre of state capture and the board will have to hit the ground running to ensure that Eskom is once again operating efficiently."
To do so, the board should prioritise certain key areas of concern, including appointing qualified and experienced individuals in all senior positions; investigating any suspicious contracts and individuals who had been involved in questionable deals, including senior executives and former board members; prioritising Eskom’s financial stability and attracting more investment; and recovering all monies that had been syphoned from the power utility.
"These are only a few of the immediate actions that need to be taken by the new board, but the DA believes that these are important steps to re-establish good governance and restore the public's faith in the utility. Of course, the appointment of the new board does not mean that the indiscretions of their predecessors should be forgotten," Mazzone said.
The previous Eskom board had been heavily implicated in allegations of state capture and the appointment of the new board by no means absolved them from wrongdoing. All those responsible for the decline at Eskom should be held accountable and the DA would continue to use every platform to fiercely go after all those accused of state capture, she said.
On Saturday, Deputy President Cyril 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.
African News Agency/ANA