Mpho Makwana will step down as chairman of South Africa’s beleaguered power utility at Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s annual general meeting at the end of the month.
(Bloomberg) — Mpho Makwana will step down as chairman of South Africa’s beleaguered power utility at Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s annual general meeting at the end of the month.
He will be replaced by former MTN Group Ltd. executive and ex-chief executive officer of Altron Ltd., Mteto Nyati, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said in a statement on Monday.
Makwana will use the rest of October to hand over to Nyati, Gordhan said.
“Our efforts to stabilize Eskom and restructure it into three subsidiaries — generation, transmission, and distribution — remain on track,” the minister said. “As government we are committed to ensuring that Eskom has the right skills, talent, and experience to support our pursuit of a more secure energy future for South Africans.”
Makwana’s departure comes less than a month after Bloomberg News reported that the search for Eskom’s new CEO has raised tensions between Gordhan, who oversees the state utility, and members of the board including the chairman. They were said to have become frustrated that the selection process had been delayed because of demands from the minister, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the issue isn’t public.
Read More: Eskom Board, South African Minister at Odds Over CEO Search
Some of the board members threatened to quit in the coming weeks if Gordhan rejected their recommendation, another person said. At the time, Gordhan denied that he was “stalling” the process and said he was exercising his oversight responsibility as required by law.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television on Friday, Gordhan said the protracted search for Eskom’s new CEO will end by December.
Eskom has been without a full-time head since Andre de Ruyter abruptly left in February, despite an ongoing energy crisis that is costing the country as much as 899 million rand ($46 million) per day and will shave 2 percentage points off output growth in 2023, according to South African Reserve Bank estimates.
De Ruyter left after the airing of a television interview in which he linked officials from the ruling African National Congress to widespread corruption at the company. His position has been temporarily filled by Chief Financial Officer Calib Cassim.
Gordhan rejected a candidate put forward by the board, online publication News24 reported last month.
The utility said it had reviewed 147 “high-caliber” candidates in its global search for a CEO, but the process had failed to “yield a clear-cut set of candidates” as required by the company’s memorandum of incorporation. The board then “emerged with a single appointable candidate.”
–With assistance from Rene Vollgraaff.
(Updates with handover period in third paragraph. An earlier version corrected the second paragraph to clarify that Nyati is incoming chairman.)
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