Eskom's new chair is a man of 'unimpeachable integrity'

According to a profile published by Black Business Quarterly in 2011, Jabu Mabuza – who will celebrate his 60th birthday next month – was born in the small town of Waterval Boven 
(Gallo Images/Beeld/Siddique Davids)

According to a profile published by Black Business Quarterly in 2011, Jabu Mabuza – who will celebrate his 60th birthday next month – was born in the small town of Waterval Boven (Gallo Images/Beeld/Siddique Davids)

Who is Jabu Mabuza?

The new chair of the Eskom board, Jabu Mabuza has an illustrious history in the South African corporate sector. He has served as a director on a number of boards and has had experience as chair on many others including: Telkom South Africa; Anheuser-Busch InBev; South African Tourism, and the Casino Association of South Africa. 

According to a profile published by Black Business Quarterly in 2011, Jabu Mabuza – who will celebrate his 60th birthday next month – was born in the small town of Waterval Boven but when his family was forcibly removed and resettled on trust land in White River, he went to live alternately with his two grandmothers and later with an aunt in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg. He was expelled from junior secondary school after being caught up in the 1976 student riots in Soweto, but later matriculated in Durban. It was on a train to school in Durban that Mabuza met his future wife, Siphiwe, with who he has two sons and a daughter.

In 1980, he went to work as a clerk of the court for the then Department of Bantu Affairs. In Daveyton, he started driving taxis to raise his university tuition fees and later became a taxi owner. In 1981, Mabuza enrolled at the University of the North, but dropped out in his second year and continued to drive taxis while delving into a number of different things.  Seven years on he helped to found the Foundation for African Business and Consumer Services, and in 1990 became chief executive.

Mabuza – who is also president of Business Unity South Africa and chair of Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) – has been lauded for his rectitude.

“Mabuza is an ethical leader and respected for his business acumen and independent leadership,” the Federation of unions of South Africa (Fedusa) said in a statement.  “As his track record as chairperson of Telkom proves, Mabuza will not allow any cabinet minister to interfere with his functions as a company director.”

BLSA chief executive, Bonang Mohale said: “Not only does he [Mabuza] bring a wealth of commercial experience and illustrious experience from both the public and private sectors, he also brings with him unimpeachable integrity – a trait that is so badly needed right now in our country. We appreciate the fact that he has agreed to accept another call to serve his country as chairman of Eskom, over and above his other enormous responsibilities in both the private and public sectors.”

Mabuza will be supported by an entirely new board, the composition of which, Mohale said, will bring a mix of diverse but specialist skills which is necessary to quickly restore stability to the operations and finances of Eskom.

The new board members are:

Sifiso Dabengwa; Sindi Mabaso-Koyana; Mark Lamberti; Professor Tshepo Mongalo; Professor Malegapuru Makgoba; Busisiwe Mavuso; Nelisiwe Magubane; Dr Rod Crompton; George Sebulela; Dr Pulane Molokwane; Dr Banothile Makhubela; Jacky Molisane

The appointment of Phakamani Hadebe as new acting chief executive, has also been widely welcomed. Hadebe was a deputy director general in National Treasury for many years before he was appointed to turn around the Landbank from financial disaster. “After successfully rooting out corruption and stabilising the balance sheet of the Landbank, Hadebe moved to the private sector and joined Barclays Africa,” said Fedusa, noting that the union held him in high regard. 

Lisa Steyn

Lisa Steyn

Lisa Steyn is a business reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She holds a master's degree in journalism and media studies from Wits University. Her areas of interest range from energy and mining to financial services and telecommunication. When she is not poring over annual reports, Lisa can usually be found pottering about the kitchen. Read more from Lisa Steyn

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