Eskom chairman Mpho Makwana has decided to step down and will be replaced by Mteto Nyati as interim chairperson.
Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, announced the changes to the Eskom board on Monday evening.
He announced that “Makwana has decided to step down as the chairperson and non-executive director of the Eskom board at the AGM scheduled for the end of October”.
“Nyati will be appointed as interim chairperson of the board of directors of Eskom. Makwana will utilise the remainder of October to hand over to the new interim chairperson of the Board.”
Makwana’s resignation followed shortly after a dispute between Gordhan and the Eskom board regarding appointing the new Eskom CEO.
Andre de Ruyter announced his resignation as CEO nine months ago, yet a permanent replacement hasn’t been named.
A candidate put forward by the board was rejected by Gordhan. He informed the board that he would require at least three candidates to be shortlisted.
Makwana became frustrated that the selection process had been delayed because of demands from the minister.
Some Eskom board members reportedly threatened to quit in the coming weeks if Gordhan rejected their recommendation.
Eskom said it reviewed 150 potential candidates in its global search for a CEO and had identified “a clear number one,” with two others as joint runner-up.
While the Eskom board forwarded its preference to the government, it was deemed not to satisfy a technical requirement.
The company’s memorandum of incorporation reportedly required the board to submit three names for the CEO position.
City Press reported that the Eskom board recommended former Eskom manager Dan Marokane, which faced opposition from Gordhan.
However, Gordhan was reportedly unhappy with the recommendation because “Marokane was expected to oppose interference in the management of Eskom”.
The ruling ANC prefers former Eskom board member Ayanda Noah, who is close to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe.
Gordhan is reportedly also unhappy with this choice as he and Mantashe often disagree on important matters.
The impasse on appointing a suitable candidate may result in the Eskom board having to restart the CEO recruitment process.