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Brown advises new Eskom board: Be careful who you play golf with

Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown calls for a shake up at 'stale' Eskom.
Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown calls for a shake up at 'stale' Eskom.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER/THE TIMES

The newly appointed board of Eskom has until June 2018‚ the date of the next AGM‚ to finalise all investigations and disciplinary proceedings against senior officials implicated in “malfeasance”.

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown gave the instruction on Friday‚ during a special general board meeting at Eskom’s headquarters at Megawatt Park‚ Johannesburg.

She also dispensed advice to the new board.

It is expected the board‚ which includes Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Ben Martins‚ will discuss Eskom’s various problems‚ including the appointment of a new group chief executive‚ which is Brown’s first priority.

It was reported this morning that suspended CEO Matshela Koko has been found not guilty of six charges‚ including allegedly failing to declare a conflict of interest when his stepdaughter was awarded a tender by a division he led. Board chairman Zethembe Khoza confirmed he had received the final report from the hearing’s chairman Mtombeni Mzungulu‚ but said it was now going through “board processes”.

Brown meanwhile had some sage advice for the new board: “Serving as board members of state-owned companies in the presently contested business and political environment is not for softies.

“Unlike those who serve on the boards of private companies‚ you will be regarded with suspicion and mistrust. While you are susceptible to corruption‚ capture‚ greed and malice. Who they associate with is inconsequential. They call it lobbying.

“You must be careful who you play golf with‚ because it will be used as evidence against you.”

Brown encouraged the board to be steadfast in executing its duty.

“Ultimately‚ boards can only be as strong as the executive teams they command. It’s the information you get from exec teams that allow you to make decisions. Eskom is as reliant on the honesty and diligence of its CEOs‚ CFOs as any private company‚” she said.

Brown also mandated the board to “take decisive action to address challenges of leadership‚ governance‚ liquidity and ethics.

“The finalisation of the investigation into all suspended executives is of paramount importance to rebuild reputation and to restore investor confidence‚” she said.
“Furthermore‚ I urge you to deal with all issues that led to a qualified audit opinion‚ as the company cannot afford a repeat in this financial year.”

She said these steps would be crucial in rebuilding Eskom’s image in the minds of investors and the public.

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