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Internal Conflict Delays Appointment of New Eskom CEO

Published September 25, 2023
9 months ago

In the face of a leadership vacuum at Eskom following the unexpected resignation of Andre de Ruyter in February 2023, a silent battle is being waged between the Eskom board and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan over who will fill the vacant CEO position.

The company has been left in the hands of acting group chief executive, Calib Cassim. Although the importance of appointing a permanent CEO has been emphasised by all parties involved, a decision has yet to be reached.

This delay is reportedly due to political infighting, according to News24's Carol Paton. According to her report, Gordhan has vetoed the Eskom board's solo recommendation for CEO and has requested a shortlist of at least three candidates. This impasse might necessitate a restart of the CEO recruitment process, further delaying the appointment.

On one hand, Gordhan has voiced opposition against the board's recommended candidate, former Eskom manager Dan Marokane because of expectation that Marokane might thwart interference in Eskom’s management. On the other hand, Gordhan is also not pleased with the ANC's preference of Ayanda Noah, the former Eskom board member who aligns with Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance’s Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Ghaleb Cachalia, suspected that Gordhan’s veto might be resulting from a specific agenda aiming to find a candidate fulfilling his personal specifications rather than relying on the board's judgment.

The ongoing delay aggravates Eskom’s precarious situation, affecting both the South African economy and its citizens adversely. Appointing a new Eskom CEO is not simply about finding qualified personnel, but someone who can resist political interference and maintain the stability of the corporation.

Eskom's internal strife is hindering progress, and whilst the battling of political agendas subsists, South Africa waits in limbo.

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