The Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) said the appointment of Jabu Mabuza as acting CEO of Eskom while he remained board chairperson diluted accountability and may have long-lasting effects on the power utility’s leadership.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced on Monday that Mabuza would play a dual role for three months while Eskom looked for a permanent CEO.
This decision was necessitated by CEO Phakamani Hadebe’s resignation in May. His last day is on Wednesday.
The IoDSA’s Dr Simo Lushaba said Mabuza’s appointment as interim CEO while he remained board chair suggested that there were problems in the utility’s succession plan.
Lushaba said this decision could haunt the Eskom in the future.
“Things that don’t go well in the future when people are being held accountable, they may chase them back to what happened when the chairman was acting as the CEO. That puts the board in a very difficult situation because you are in effect asking them to hold their chairman accountable,” he said.
However, Public Enterprises’ spokesperson Adrian Lackay said both internal and external candidates were considered for the job.
“It was felt at the end of the day that as the shareholder minister exercising his discretion, Mr Mabuza is best placed to conduct this on an interim basis,” he said.
Lackay said Mabuza was also appointed to ensure continuity in Eskom’s management.
“To ensure continuity and to ensure that the board is instructed to really go and embark on a process to find a suitable candidate for group CEO on a permanent basis for Eskom Holdings and to see what the market appetite is for that.”
The board believed that in the next three months a permanent CEO would be found. At the same time, Eskom was expected to release its annual results on Tuesday afternoon.
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