Johannesburg - The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) says it was shocked about the July 31 appointment of Jabu Mabuza as an interim chief executive officer while he was still chairperson. The union wants the appointment to be reversed and the entire board immediately fired.
On the matter of Mabuza, the country's largest labour union said it was seeking legal opinion as Mabuza cannot account himself according to corporate governance's long-established global standards.
The union's general secretary, Irvin Jim, says the R20.7 billion loss reported by the power utility last week was evidence good enough to prove that the board is technically incompetent to steer this gigantic ship supplying power to the country and to some southern African countries.
He said the admission by the recently departed chief executive, Phakamani Hadebe, that “they were oblivious to underlying factors” which were at the heart of Eskom problems made them welcome Hadebe's departure.
"We are also questioning the legality of allowing the chairperson of the board to also hold the position of GCEO. We have to ask how Mr. Mabuza intends to operate as both Chairperson of Eskom, and Acting CEO. Does this mean he will be reporting to, and is accountable to himself? Surely it cannot be proper for the chairperson of the board to hold both these positions. We, therefore, do not believe that Mr. Mabuza is fit to hold this position as well, and we intend to seek legal advice on what our options are in such a situation," Jim said in a statement.
Furthermore, Jim said Mabuza is not fit to chair Eskom's 11-member board because he is conflicted and he has publicly admitted that.
"It is Jabu Mabuza himself who disclosed in the Zondo State Capture Commission that he was appointed as Chairman of the Board of Eskom, despite having family business interests in Eskom, both in the boilers and supply of coal. This conflict of interest is another reason why he must be removed.
Jim alleged that it seems to us that Mabuza was appointed to this role by Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, because he is one of the few executives trusted by the government to implement the mandate of restructuring Eskom to enable privatization.
"He is also trusted to continue defending and enriching the owners of the Independent Power Producer (IPP) programme, at the expense of the working class majority in this country. Governments commitment to the IPP program is not in the interests of the power utility and the public at large."