Edcon chief executive Bernie Brookes, left, chief financial officer Richard Vaughan and chief operating officer Grant Pattison during the company’s media briefing at the retailer’s offices in Johannesburg yesterday. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi
Edcon chief executive Bernie Brookes, left, chief financial officer Richard Vaughan and chief operating officer Grant Pattison during the company’s media briefing at the retailer’s offices in Johannesburg yesterday. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Opposition parties slam appointment of former Edcon boss at Eskom

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published Aug 11, 2020

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Durban - Political parties have slammed Eskom’s appointment of former Edcon CFO Richard Vaughan as the power utility’s general manager for treasury.

They labelled the move as anti-transformation and a regressive step in the push for transformation at state owned enterprises.

Vaughan was appointed in the position despite Mandla Maleka having acted in the position for eight months, from September 2019 to April this year, after the post had become vacant in August 2019.

The EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo said Vaughan's appointment was one of many perturbing appointments made by Eskom.

"This shows a concerted, systemic and systematic assault on black professionals at Eskom, and a determined effort to whiten Eskom as much and as quickly as possible.

"Vaughan's appointment makes little sense, and it would seem his only qualification is his skin colour. He has never managed a treasury portfolio before and was appointed as Chief Financial Officer at Edcon group from 2016.

“We now all know what has happened to the Edcon group. Despite this, Eskom sees it fit to appoint a person of this nature to the position of Group Treasury of an important institution such as this, at a time when Eskom is facing serious challenges when it comes to its finances," said Pambo.

The EFF said that the power utility had overlooked Mandla Maleka who had acted in the position of General Manager of Treasury, from September 2019 to April 2020, after the position had become vacant in August 2019 and had been advertised in November of the same year.

The PAC’s Narius Moloto said Vaughan’s appointment was proof that the policy of the new administration was wrong because it attempted to undo the little progress that had been made in transforming the economy and parastatals.

“When a person has acted in a position they should have been given an opportunity and where they believe and think he lacks they should have created the capacity with those who are there to add value to assist him to build capacity.

“The principle of transformation and empowerment should not be compromised because when you compromise that principle then you’re basically taking us backwards.

“This appointment is a total disregard of this principle, it’s a panic, it’s a lack of belief in your people and in yourself and also a lack of positive thinking and that is not taking us anywhere,” Moloto said.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha told Independent Media that the power utility regarded equity as an important lever towards transformation and therefore supported practices geared at advancing designated groups.

“In terms of Section 6 of the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998, as a designated employer, Eskom takes reasonable steps to promote equal opportunity in the workplaces by eliminating unfair discrimination in any employment policy and practice.

“The Act directs organisations to use the economically active population objectives (percentages) in formulating employment equity plans, managing appointments and other related affirmative action programs,” Mantshantsha said at the time.

He had also stated that appointments over the past two years had been within Eskom employment equity plan and had not resulted nor led to redress or exclusion of qualified black engineers.

“In 2018, Eskom’s percentage on racial equity was 69.35% black and has since grew by 1.37% to date.”

Mantshantsha added that all appointments at Eskom were governed by the recruitment procedure which “strictly requires candidates to meet the minimum requirements of the job before interview shortlisting and ultimately appointments”.

Political Bureau

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