Godsell displaying baas mentality - BMF

Tembakazi Mnyaka says Eskom dispute a manifestation of covert racist agenda


The Black Management Forum (BMF) has taken a solid stance against the appalling trend of turning State Owned Enterprises into slaughterhouses for the Black professionals recruited to head them.  This smacks of total disregard to the BMF's agenda to transform the socio-economic landscape and develop managerial leadership among the Black Africans of South Africa.

What you are experiencing here today, citizens of our country, members of the Press is the representation and carrying out of the mandate and will of the majority population of this country who are saying, enough is enough. We have stopped watching from the sidelines when our economy is being manipulated to exclude the majority of its citizens. We will no longer watch when our people and our hopes for the management and control of our economy, the majority of the black middle class and specifically our executives are being made footballs, bastardised and manipulated by cynical forces.

We will no longer watch when the vehicles of our developmental state agenda, our SOEs are being manipulated to perpetuate the skewed racial economic relations in this country. We shall act and we are acting.

In the ESKOM case under our scrutiny, the BMF recognises that this problem is a product of two key issues:

  • The ideological disconnect between the strategic imperatives of the Shareholder, i.e. the ANC led Government pursuing a developmental agenda through its State owned enterprises and the Eskom board represented by its Chairman, which affects the strategic view and direction of Eskom
  • Lack of role clarity between ESKOM's Board Chairman and the CEO

This has manifested itself in the:

  • Sustained attack on Maroga's capabilities through performance evaluation by the discontent voices manipulating the Press
  • Alleged resignation of Maroga and flouting of Corporate governance by both the Chairman and the Board
  • The misbehaviour of the Chairman

We are further cognizant of the fact that the above mentioned symptoms are a manifestation of

  • The covert anti transformation and racist agenda inherent in our country
  • Tacit stereotypes depicting black Africans as incompetent irrespective of their qualifications' skills and ability
  • Poor quality people parachuted to Board appointments to secure their historical privileges in perpetuity, thus leading to Board manipulation by the better connected and
  • The Bass/boy mentality exhibited by the ESKOM Board Chairman and manifested in turf contests between him and the CEO, Mr. Jacob Maroga.

The BMF therefore wishes to unequivocally put its stance on record, that:

The Eskom challenges predate Jacob Maroga's tenure as a CEO. South Africa has been led to deliberate amnesia that Eskom's problems are caused by Maroga. This is despite the fact that the former President admitted to and explained the reasons for lack of investment in maintenance of Eskom infrastructure. Maroga to his credit addresses this issue, he turned around the issue of load shedding  and black outs stopped. This did not happen on its own but there is reluctance to give credit to Maroga. The issue at hand is the financial sustainability of Eskom that the BMF is satisfied that the CE of Eskom is dealing with. He has addressed his solutions well in the strategy document that he tabled at the Board last Thursday that the Board did not even bother to consider.


The Chairman, Mr Bobby Godsell has misinformed the Eskom staff and the SA public that Mr Maroga has resigned.

Having consulted widely with various reliable sources, the BMF accepts that Mr Maroga did not resign from ESKOM nor does he intend to do so. The BMF challenges the Chairman and the Board to provide evidence of his resignation.

If for any reason we are told that Mr Maroga has resigned, or that he no longer is the CEO of ESKOM, we will know that he has been pushed.  We will demand answers on why South Africa is being robbed of its Returns from a 14 year investment it has made in this highly qualified, experienced and competent Black African Professional engineer.  The BMF affirms its support of Maroga to stay at the helm of ESKOM, the SoE central to the advancement of our developmental agenda.

The BMF further expresses its shock and indignation that the Chairman purported to be well versed in labour issues, seems to have flagrant disregard for resignation procedures of the country. This further affirms our view that Mr Godsell's transformation views not only do not resonate with those of the shareholder, he has total disregard for his shareholder's transformation interests and agenda.

The BMF believes that the Board of ESKOM under Mr. Bobby Godsell, has been less than frank and candid with the people of South Africa.  Misinforming the public and the international investor community that Maroga resigned, smacks of nothing but travesty of justice and good corporate governance. Needless to say its handling of the Maroga case leaves much to be desired and results in us questioning the capability and the competence of this Board.  This behavior is a further manifestation of the incongruence of values between the Board and the Shareholder, clearly indicating that under the leadership of Mr. Bobby Godsell, the ESKOM Board is misaligned to the vision of its shareholder - the Zuma Administration.  It therefore leaves us little room but to call on Mr. Godsell and his colleagues in the ESKOM Board to do the honorable thing and resign.

The BMF as custodians of managerial leadership and corporate governance are shocked at the flouting of corporate governance by a Chairman and question his abilities to lead the Board if he fails to observe the most basic of corporate governance principle of nose in, hands out which means that he must leave the operations of the entity to the CEO.

We however recognise that the problems engulfing governance at ESKOM, seem to be a problematic thread engulfing most of our SoE's, and this trend has been continuing unabatedly since black reign of executives such as Maria Ramos. Today Transnet is being sued for R42 million by an ex employee, Mr Martin Sebesho and others due to wrongful prosecution which we continue to emphasise was a sinister attack on the integrity of these executives. They were found not guilty but had already been dismissed.  The exodus of black executives during Ms Ramos' reign at Transet is seen by the BMF as an attempt to reverse transformation.  The impending slaughter of Siyabonga Gama at Transnet is but a case in point.  How are we going to convince Black African Professionals in particular to offer services to SoE's, when they have become the slaughterhouse for anyone competent, especially when Billions of Rand ought to be spent in procurement?

This further exacerbates the constant excuse by corporate South Africa that they are unable to transform as they cannot find competent black professionals.

To provide a way forward in uprooting this cancer engulfing our State Delivery machinery, the BMF challenges:

  • First the ruling party to emerge with progressive policies aimed at streamlining SoE's contribution to the objectives of establishing a developmental State;
  • Secondly, we challenge Mr. Bobby Godsell to tell South Africa why he must be entrusted with the nation's energy livelihood, having betrayed its trust in pursuit of his personal nefarious agenda; and
  • We finally Challenge the Government to act swiftly in providing leadership on the ESKOM matter.  Minister Hogan would have done better to remedy this situation, lest this lovely fish rots from the head.

In conclusion, we would like to state that the BMF will be continuing with an extensive consultation process with varied stakeholder groups in the political arena, civil society and the Professional landscape.  This will be aimed at emerging with concrete policy proposals to assist Government in giving better meaning to Governance and improved delivery impetus of the SoE's of our country.  We will remain committed to socio-economic transformation in South Africa and the development and enhancement of Black Managerial Leadership.  These are the two strategic objectives we hope to achieve in our Professional lifetime.

May God bless us all.

Statement issued by Tembakazi Mnyaka, Black Management Forum deputy president, November 6 2009

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