No new Eskom CEO until elections pass: minister

Eskom won’t be getting a permanent CEO until after the 2014 National Elections, according to Public Enterprises Minister, Malusi Gigaba.

Gigaba was speaking at the Transnet Maritime School of Excellence graduation ceremony held in Durban, according to Business Report.

Eskom’s board has indicated that it is finalising its shortlist of candidates for the utility’s top position, and would hold interviews soon.

“I am confident that in the next month or two, the board should be coming back to me and saying this is who they are recommending – so that we can begin the process of consulting with cabinet and make the announcement most probably in the first cabinet meeting after the elections,” Gigaba reportedly said.

The delay, according to the Minister, isn’t due to the board being unable to make a decision, but rather because of the 2014 elections, and possible changes to the Cabinet.

Former Eskom CEO, Brian Dames stepped down from the position at the end of March 2014, and was replaced by former National Energy Regulator of SA chairman, Collin Matjila, in an acting capacity.

Malusi Gigaba
Malusi Gigaba

Controversial past

Matjila was also CEO of Cosatu’s investment arm Kopano Ke Matla – a position he recently stepped down from – and served as chairman of the Eskom tender board, and is also a former chairman of construction group Raubex.

The acting executive drew a lot of controversy during his time at Kopano, with links to the Gauteng e-toll project, and following improper processes while conducting business at Kopano.

It was reported by the Sunday Times that Matjila stepped down from is position at Raubex in 2012, “to prevent any perceived conflicts of interest in considering Raubex’s involvement with national roads privatisation projects”.

He resigned when it was established that Kopano, a shareholder in Raubex, benefited indirectly from Raubex’s involvement in Gauteng’s e-tolling project.

The Financial Services Board withdrew Kopano’s licence to manage employee benefits in June 2012, saying that Kopano Ke Matla Employee Benefits “has no administration capability and materially failed” to comply with requirements related to “serious transgressions and possible criminality”.

The board also identified a payment of R1.33 million to Summerlane, an entity related to Matjila, which it described as “unusual and suspicious”.

Matjila’s name was also mentioned in the controversy around the sale of Cosatu’s headquarters and the purchase of another building in Johannesburg. Kopano acted as transaction adviser to Cosatu on both deals.

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No new Eskom CEO until elections pass: minister