/ 6 November 2009

Bobby Godsell’s unfinished business

Eskom chairperson Bobby Godsell recently expressed a lack of faith in the parastatal’s senior management and its capacity to respond effectively to the major challenges it faces.

The Mail & Guardian is in possession of notes Godsell presented to the Eskom board dated October 23.

In these, he highlights a litany of ‘unfinished business” — items taken from the minutes of 16 previous board meetings which he deems ‘incomplete” or ‘late”.

Godsell says the failure of senior management to deal with ‘unfinished business” do not suggest any ‘mal intent” (sic), and he recommends that a chief operating officer be appointed to assist Eskom chief executive officer Jacob Maroga.

In the notes, Godsell says: ‘As noted in a number of board discussions over this last year I am very concerned at the capacity of management to respond both effectively and quickly to the very major challenges now facing Eskom.

‘I have very real concerns on the time, responsibility and stress burden being carried by [Maroga] and his executive team. The concern arises simply from a sense that we are failing to deal decisively with a number of important issues.”

Godsell’s list of ‘unfinished business” includes a review of the Eskom shareholder compact, the production of a national energy strategy proposal, the production of a long-term financial sustainability strategy, a review of Eskom’s support for the pebble-bed modular reactor project, and a discussion of long-term coal contracts.

Additional ‘unfinished business” includes a retrenchment analysis report, a report on the potential sale of Eskom’s non-core assets, the production of a bad debts management strategy and the production of a free basic electricity strategy.