Dear Cape Town
The appointment of Professor Malegapuru Makgoba as interim Eskom Chair is regrettable and not what the struggling power utility needs to turn it around.
Makgoba is a trained physician, and whilst his medical credentials may be impressive, they are of no use in the power generation and transmission industry that is facing a crisis of note – the appointment defies logic and his previous roles in governance at universities has been questioned.
The DA has repeatedly called for an independent new chairman, with the appropriate financial and technical knowledge, to be instated by the shareholder – one who is grounded in solid ethical governance. We have moreover, offered repeatedly to assist in the generation of potential candidate names.
But as of yet, no response from the Minister or the entity has been forthcoming.
There are global energy executives who have deep operational, financial and restructuring experience who could fulfill this role. Some of these executives are currently engaged in other projects in the United States of America and Europe. Others have worked in advisory capacities for the utility with the unions and other vendors.
The appropriate candidate would no doubt step up if the terms of reference and the degrees of freedom they would operate under would be in line with international best practice.
The shareholder should consider the appointment of a chairperson from candidates of this sort of caliber who already have a handle on Eskom’s operational and financial issues, and who will evince the measure of independence required.
The appointment of Professor Makgoba in the interim, his medical credentials notwithstanding, does little to instill the required confidence.
The DA repeats its offer to sit around a table, on a party-agnostic basis, to assist in the resolution of this crisis and in the generation of potential names to fulfill the key role of board chair and board members. We await government’s response. Sadly, the economy and South Africa has run out of time.
Ghaleb Cachalia MP
DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises