Eskom Chair Resigns Amid Conflict With Gordhan, Former MTN Boss to Take Over

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Eskom chairperson Mpho Makwana has resigned, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan announced on Monday. 

In a short statement, Gordhan said that Makwana would step down at the Eskom AGM scheduled for the end of October. He was appointed only a year ago and is the shortest-serving chairperson of Eskom to date. Non-executive director Mteto Nyati will be appointed chairperson of the board.

Nyati, who previously was a CEO of Altron and of MTN South Africa, stepped down from the board of Nedbank last week due to “increased capacity constraints”. An earlier statement referred to Nyati as the new interim chair, but this was subsequently corrected.

While Gordhan did not provide the reason for Makwana’s sudden departure, Makwana said in the statement that the matter had been “amicably settled”. Said Makwana: 

I am grateful for the opportunity afforded me by the government to serve a second term as chairperson of the board of directors of Eskom. I wish Eskom and its people success and thank its committed stewards for their unstinting efforts to revive the utility. I thank the Minister for the positive, amicable manner upon which we conclude my tenure.

Gordhan said that he wished Makwana well in his endeavours.

Gordhan added the work to restructure Eskom and appoint new leadership was ongoing. “Our efforts to stabilise Eskom and restructure it into three subsidiaries – generation, transmission, and distribution – remain on track. As a government, we are committed to ensuring that Eskom has the right skills, talent, and experience to support our pursuit of amore secure energy future for South Africans,” he said. 

The relationship between Gordhan and Makwana deteriorated sharply in recent months. Among the disagreements between the two has been the selection of a new CEO for Eskom.

After a worldwide search and conducting interviews with candidates, in May, Makwana and the board recommended former Eskom head of group capital Dan Marokane for the position. Several months later, Gordhan wrote to the board stating that in terms of the company’s memorandum of incorporation, it was required to submit a shortlist of three candidates.

Gordhan also recommended to the board that it consider candidates over the age of 60, which he said had been excluded. Makwana responded that the board had concluded that there was only one “appointable candidate.” 

The impasse between the two had not been solved at the time of the announcement. A board member speaking to News24 last week said that the relationship between Gordhan and Makwana had broken down and that trust between Gordhan and several of the board members had collapsed following the CEO debacle. 

Source : News24