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‘Eskom board members, do the country a favour and resign’: Numsa

Prof Malegapuru Makgoba was named Eskom's interim chair on Wednesday.
Prof Malegapuru Makgoba was named Eskom's interim chair on Wednesday.
Image: Masi Losi

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to remove the Eskom board.

On Wednesday, Prof Malegapuru William Makgoba was named interim chair of the embattled power utility. This follows the resignation of Jabu Mabuza last week.

The department of public enterprises said in a statement that Makgoba "is a leading scientist and academic who joined the Eskom board as a non-executive director in 2018".

However, Makgoba’s appointment did not sit well with Numsa.

The union’s spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, said his appointment did not change their view of the current board.

“We have been very clear from the moment that President Ramaphosa announced the board that it would be disastrous and Prof Makgoba is part of that board,” Hlubi-Majola  said in an interview on the Power 98.7 breakfast show.

She said Makgoba’s appointment was a reshuffling of the same “old players”, who had failed to lead the state-owned entity (SOE) and act in the interest of South Africans.  

“We don’t expect anything positive to come from this move, because it just means (a continuation) of the same disastrous practices which have been in play in the last two years,” she said.

“We call on all board members to do the country a favour and resign.”

Hlubi-Majola said what was needed to turn things around at Eskom was the appointment of a board with generation and engineering backgrounds.

“As long as we keep doing the same thing, and hope for a different result, unfortunately it is not going to change anything.

“We retain our position that the entire board must go. They are responsible for having brought us to the crisis that we find ourselves in.”

Political and economic analyst Tshepo Kgadima told the station that Makgoba was part of the problem at Eskom, adding that he had been the longest-serving board member.

“What has he done? There is no evidence of what his contributions were and what sort of discourse he led to ensure that Eskom could function smoothly in the two-and-a-half years or so that he has been at the board of Eskom.

“I do not have much hope. By now, I had hoped that Prof Makgoba would have pronounced himself forth, primarily ensuring that the energy availability sector goes up, but at the same time also answer the key questions.”

Kgadima told the station that billions had been spent on maintenance, but the country did not have reliable electricity supply.

Black Business Council CEO Kganki Matabane said the council welcomed the appointment of Makgoba, but would have preferred the board be “beefed up” with engineering skills.

“We are hoping it will be processed quicker and that there will be stability at Eskom, because it is the biggest risk for the country.”

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