/ 10 November 2009

Bobby Godsell on why he resigned

Bobby Godsell, the former chairperson of Eskom’s board, said he had resigned on Monday morning because the government had not supported the board’s decision to accept CEO Jacob Maroga’s resignation nor its attempts to resolve the dispute.

In a statement on Monday evening, Godsell said that Maroga had offered to resign on October 28, and the board had accepted his resignation.

”The board’s legal advice is that the resignation was quite clear in its intent, and the board was entitled to accept it,” Godsell said.

He explained that on October 29, Maroga then denied resigning.

”The board offered to submit this dispute of fact to binding private arbitration. Mr Maroga has not responded to this offer,” Godsell said.

He said that on November 8 the board had proposed a comprehensive set of measures which would have had the effect, if agreed to by Maroga, of requiring the board to state its case for why it believed the relationship with Maroga had broken down irretrievably.

”Mr Maroga would then be given a reasonable period of time in which to respond. Mr Maroga rejected these proposals,” said Godsell.

”Thus far government, as Eskom’s sole shareholder, has been unable either to support the board’s original decision [to accept Maroga’s resignation] or its two attempts at resolving this dispute.

”In these circumstances, and with the best interests of the organisation in mind, the only course of action seems to me to resign as chair and as director,” Godsell said.

He added that Eskom was a ”critical national asset”.

”The talented, dedicated and highly experienced people who work at Eskom are more than capable of meeting its present challenges. My hope is the government will move quickly to ensure united and effective leadership,” Godsell said.

‘Complete disaster’
Meanwhile, the latest developments at Eskom were a ”complete disaster”, analyst Adam Habib said on Monday.

”Now we’ve clearly got a public crisis at the level of Eskom,” said Habib, deputy vice-chancellor of research at the University of Johannesburg.

”It appears as though the authority of the board is being undermined. The corporate governance at Eskom seems to have been rocked very badly,” he said. – Sapa