/ 9 November 2009

Bobby Godsell resigns from Eskom

Eskom chairperson Bobby Godsell has resigned, the Public Enterprises Ministry said on Monday.

”Yes, he has resigned,” public enterprises spokesperson Ayanda Shezi said.

He resigned on Monday morning.

She was not certain when the resignation came into effect.

Meanwile, Jacob Maroga was back in the office on Monday, the company’s spokesperson said on Monday.

”He’s resumed his duties as chief executive,” said spokesperson Andrew Etzinger.

The Black Management Forum (BMF) welcomed the resignation of Godsell and the return to work of Maroga.

”We express our appreciation to Mr Godsell for doing the right thing,” said BMF managing director Gaba Tabane.

”We also welcome the news of Mr Maroga going back to work,” he said, adding that he should be allowed to concentrate on the work the power utility needs to do.

In rejecting earlier reports of his resignation, the BMF said state-owned enterprises were becoming ”slaughterhouses” for black professionals.

Last week, Godsell said Maroga had resigned with immediate effect, but the African National Congress Youth League and the BMF didn’t accept this, insisting he had not.

Maroga’s tenure has been marked by power shortages, a record loss of R9,7-billion in the year to March and electricity price rises criticised for stoking inflation as South Africa battles recession.

Etzinger said he could not confirm whether Maroga had indeed resigned, adding that only the board could comment on the developments and the way forward in the matter.

Maroga has led Eskom in one of its most difficult periods, characterised by a low power reserve margin, rising capital and operating costs and coal procurement problems.

Management issues at the utility have been widely commented upon by the opposition, interest groups and unions, but Godsell, the minister and Maroga himself have yet to explain what happened in the boardroom over a week ago.

”Eskom board-level battles, power struggles and legal actions will undoubtedly be extremely demoralising, debilitating and divisive to the management and staff of Eskom, and will take management focus off the many critical issues being faced right now by the company,” said Chris Yelland from EE Publishers, an industry publication. — Sapa, Reuters