South Africa Minister for Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown has declared that South Africa’s cabinet has approved the appointment of Brian Molefe as Eskom’s Chief Executive Officer.
Brown stated that along with Molefe’s appointment, cabinet also approved the permanent positions of Ben Ngubane as Chairman and Anoj Singh as Chief Financial Officer of the state-owned power utility.
In a ministry statement Brown said: “I welcome these appointments and they are part of my on-going interventions to stabilise Eskom.”
Footprint to Africa gathered that Molefe is not new to state-owned companies as he was drafted to Eskom in mid-April as its acting chief executive from state-owned rail freight company Transnet, while Singh had also been on secondment from Transnet.
Brown said its board would now look to replace Singh and Molefe, who now face a formidable challenge as they try to turn Eskom around.
Minister Brown added: “Dr Ngubane has steadied the company since 30 March 2015 as Acting Chairperson. Together with Mr Molefe, who was seconded from Transnet in mid-April 2015, they have been successful in bringing stability to the Company [Eskom] whilst dealing with a constrained grid.
“The Executive was further strengthened when Mr Singh was seconded from Transnet as acting CFO from 1 August 2015 for a period of six months.
“I want to thank the Transnet Board for agreeing to second Mr Molefe and Mr Singh to Eskom. Now that they have been permanently appointed at Eskom, I have requested the Board to start the process to fill these vacancies at Transnet.”
Eskom’s balance sheet revealed that as the company is struggling to supply power, it faces a serious liquidity crunch as it has said it needs ZAR200 billion ($14.5 billion) to plug a funding gap until 2018.
In August it was reported that Eskom’s two areas of concern are its financial sustainability and improving the reliability of its fleet of power plants. At that time Brown had disclosed that Eskom’s net profit decreased from ZAR7.1 billion ($549 million) to ZAR3.6 billion ($314 million).
“Similar to other state-owned companies, Eskom must finalise steps to wean the organisation from the support of the fiscus. Eskom must be put on a course where it can live off its balance sheet,” Brown added.