Editorial: Crazy leadership carousel

Eskom appointed a new interim chairperson this week — board member Professor Malegapuru Makgoba. Makgoba is not a new face. He was the health ombudsman tasked with investigating the Life Esidimeni tragedy. He was also deputy chair of the national planning committee. He is also a leading immunologist, physician and public health advocate.

But for higher education insiders it is Makgoba’s time at University of Kwazulu-Natal that is memorable. He was the inaugural vice-chancellor overseeing the merger of several institutions. But his reign was chequered. He and the council chair were accused of sexual harassment; Makgoba was accused of plagiarism and of repeatedly of quashing dissent, and narrowing conditions of academic freedom. Several leading academics fled the institution. Makgoba was never found guilty of any wrongdoing.

But none of this has affected Makgoba’s ability to continue in positions of leadership. He was, for a time, the chairperson of M&G Media, which owns the Mail & Guardian. (It did not end amicably.) He is now acting Eskom chairperson.

If only Makgoba’s story was unique. There are 60-million people in South Africa, but we continue to recycle the same tired names into positions of influence, expecting something different.

Keep the powerful accountable

Subscribe for R30/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Mabuyane warns ANC provincial executive against another ‘festival of chairs’...

The ANC chair in the Eastern Cape, Oscar Mabuyane, urges PEC members to accept election outcomes and not devolve into the violence of the “festival of chairs”

Going back to the future of KwaZulu-Natal politics

The past is helpful in understanding the predatory and violent nature of political factionalism in the province. But it doesn’t answer the question of how to fix it.

Coalition negotiations: A sidelined ANC, a surprised DA and a...

If South Africa is moving from being a dominant-party system to a more vibrant, multiparty democracy, as these elections indicate, then coalitions are going to have to become the norm

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…