Jabu Mabuza too conflicted for Eskom - EFF

Fights say board chairperson's links to IPPs is too glaring to ignore


Saturday, 23 February, 2019

The EFF is shocked by the revelations at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry, of what is a serious conflict of interest that should have automatically disqualified Jabu Mabuza from being appointed Chair of the Eskom Board. Mabuza told the Commission that he is an executive chair of a company that maintains a third of Eskom's boilers. Mabuza's investment company, Sphere Investment, owns shares in Babcock and Honeywell, companies that have been awarded evergreen contracts' to service Eskom.

In addition, Mabuza told the Commission that when he was appointed as the Chair of Eskom, he accepted the job to stabilize the power utility, so that his company can also continue to benefit from the existing contracts. He says that he has resigned from all investments, and created a blind trust to manage all possible conflict of interest that might arise. The use of blind trusts by high profile executives in state-owned companies, including political office, is nothing but a web of dishonesty and deception used to hide the conflict of interest and dealings taking place to enrich the few, at the expense of South Africans.

The links between Mabuza, Eskom, and Independent Power Producers (IPPs), is too glaring to ignore. The collapse of Eskom was due to the appointment of too many individuals who had direct or indirect interests at Eskom. This mistake is often repeated, despite concrete evidence of the damage it has brought to Eskom, because the people appointed prioritize their interests at Eskom, instead of those of the public.

Mabuza was an executive chair of a company whose chief executive, ltumeleng Kgaboesele is an independent director of Old Mutual Limited, chaired by Trevor Manuel. Old Mutual limited has documents linked with companies in IPPs. It is providing 25.5% of debt, and it holds 7.2% shares in all IPP projects. Sphere Holdings is owned also by financial institutions such as Rand Merchant Bank, and Sanlam, who are also providing debt to IPPs.

The EFF calls on Mabuza to step down, the same way other people who had direct or indirect interests at Eskom stepped down. Eskom is vulnerable and on a brink of a total collapse. Only women and men of credibility, without any direct and indirect interest in any way whatsoever, should be given a chance to lead Eskom out of the crisis. We will not have faith in his leadership and decisions at Eskom as long as we know of his links to some evergreen contracts awarded to companies that he owns and his indirect links to IPPs.

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, 23 February 2019