South Africa revamped the board of state power utility Eskom Holdings, including naming Mpho Makwana as its new chairman, as the government searches for solutions to end a worsening energy crisis that’s crippling the economy.
Eskom, which supplies more than 90% of the power used in Africa’s most industrialised economy, has imposed record power cuts this year, despite a program to improve maintenance on its old and unreliable coal-fired plants. The addition of several board members with technical expertise is the latest move by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration to improve its performance.
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Other members of the new board, which will take office on Saturday, are Busisiwe Vilakazi, Lwazi Goqwana, Clive le Roux, Leslie Mkhabela, Mteto Nyati, Fathima Gany, Ayanda Mafuleka, Tsakani Mthombeni, Claudelle von Eck, Tryphosa Ramano and Bheki Ntshalintshali, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said in an online briefing on Friday.
Makwana serves on a number of other boards including as a non-executive chairman of ArcelorMittal South Africa. Several of the new appointees have technical backgrounds, including Le Roux, Eskom’s chief nuclear officer, and Goqwana, an engineer.
Rod Crompton, who served on the previous board will retain his post, as will chief executive officer Andre de Ruyter and chief financial officer Calib Cassim.
Efforts to disrupt operations, which have include sabotage, continue at the utility, said Gordhan, who expects outages to decline next week.
Ramaphosa has called for the rapid procurement of more power from privately owned plants for the past two years, but that initiative has encountered procedural and legal delays and new plants will take months if not years to be brought online. De Ruyter has said that as much as 6 000 megawatts of capacity is needed to stabilise the system.
Most of Eskom’s previous board members were appointed in December 2017. They include its Chairman Malegapuru Makgoba, a molecular immunologist, Tshepo Mongalo, a law professor, and Banothile Makhubela, who has a doctorate in chemistry. Before Friday’s announcement, the number of board members was down to just five, after several resignations.
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