Struggling power utility Eskom has seen a massive shake-up on Thursday as its chief executive Tshediso Matona was suspended from the organisation barely six months after taking office.
Matona and three other senior executives were “asked to step aside” by Eskom’s board in an effort to turn things around, according to board chairperson Zola Tsotsi.
“To ensure that this process is as transparent and uninhibited as possible the Board has also resolved that four of its senior executives, including the chief executive, should step down for the duration of this enquiry,” he said.
Tsotsi has insisted that the suspensions are not related to any wrongdoing.
The suspensions come while Eskom has set up an independent enquiry on the current status of the business and its challenges.
This “fact-finding enquiry” is set to give an analysis on:
- The poor performance of generation plants;
- Delays in bringing the new generation plant on-stream;
- High costs of primary energy; and
- Cash flow challenges.
“We invoked the term suspension but there is no intent or suspicion of wrongdoing. No charges were laid against them. There were suspensions because we feel it’s important that the excercise is carried on in an unfettered environment,” Tsotsi told a media conference in Johannesburg.
Other suspensions include Eskom’s financial director Tsholofelo Molefe, head of commercial and technology Matshela Koko, and head of group capital Dan Marokane.
“One of the current non-executive Board members, Mr Zethembe Khoza, has been asked to assume the position of interim chief executive. Mr Khoza will be supported by Ms Nonkululeko Veleti (Finance), Mr Abram Masango (Group Capital) and Mr Edwin Mabelane (Commercial and Technology),” Tsotsi announced.
He reiterated that there was no culpability implied or insinuated by the board to the suspended executives.
Despite the massive shake-up, Tsotsi would not admit that Eskom is in a crisis and maintains that they are facing “a set of challenges that can be overcome”.