Portfolio Committee hopes new Eskom Board will turn things around

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The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises has made it clear that it is counting on the new Eskom Board to turn the troubled utility around. The committee visited Eskom headquarters on Thursday to formally meet the Jabu Mabuza-led Board.

Eskom has been embroiled in one corruption controversy after another and is in the process to sweep the utility clean.

The Committee says it has complete faith in the Board, but it will be watching it with a hawk’s eye.

The Board and executive has not wasted time in tidying up the embattled utility.

Head of Generation Matshela Koko is the latest executive to be suspended.

Koko had only returned to the power utility in January after being cleared of wrong doing in a previous disciplinary hearing.

In his letter of suspension, interim Chief Executive Officer Phakamani Hadebe said Koko had to be suspended immediately due to “extreme exceptional circumstances”, as lenders had refused to extend further credit to Eskom.

Mabuza has assured the committee that the Board will not interfere with the daily running of the company and that there will be no secret meetings with politicians held under his watch.

Meanwhile, ratings agency Fitch has downgraded Eskom to ‘BB-‘ from ‘BB+’ with a negative outlook.

It cited weakening liquidity and the company’s uncertain capacity to fulfill its short-term financial commitments as the underpinning rationale for the move.

This is the second ratings agency to downgrade the power utility’s ratings after Moody’s last week slashed its rating.

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