Eskom Appoints New CEO

Current Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) Director General Tshediso Matona has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of power parastatal, Eskom.

"Mr Matona brings with him a wealth of experience and is conversant with the challenges facing the State-Owned Company," Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said.

Briefing reporters on Wednesday, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said Cabinet had approved the appointment at its meeting held in Cape Town today.

Eskom is among the entities reporting to the DPE. The announcement confirmed media reports of Matona's appointment. Matona was also in the past appointed as the Director General of the Department of Trade and Industry.
The minister said Matona brings with him a wealth of experience with the challenges facing Eskom. "He has a clear understanding of which way government wants to go," she explained.

The entity had been without a permanent CEO since the end of March, when former CEO Brian Dames left following his resignation announcement in December 2013. Collin Matjila had been appointed as the acting CEO since 1 April 2014.

The minister said she would like to strengthen leadership at the parastatal. "Part of the problem at Eskom is actually also a leadership problem. One of the things that Matona understands the current debates that are raging in our environment and has to make decisions about which way Eskom is going to go in the next short while. He has to deal with what is wrong in Eskom from an insider," she said.

In recent months, Matona has played a key role in the Inter-departmental Task Team comprising the Departments of Public Enterprises, Energy and National Treasury which have been working with Eskom and the National Regulator to formulate a solution to the immediate challenges facing Eskom. The Task Team should present its report to Cabinet by September.

"By the time we go to the rating agency in the middle of September there must be a plan for Eskom," she said of Matona's appointment.

The long term solution is crucial for Eskom, she added, in response to a question. "There has to be a strategic change of direction for Eskom for it to work more efficiently and a lot more effectively," she said.

This as the utility has in the past said that the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa's) 2013 third Multi-Year Price Determination decision to allow Eskom an 8% annual tariff increase left Eskom with a R255 billion revenue shortfall over a five year period between 2013 and 2018.

Additionally the CEO will also have to implement the correct energy mix for South Africa as well as also deal with what role the private sector can play in future projects. Government's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPP) is expected to continue so as to take advantage of wind, solar, biomass and other technologies.
The programme is aimed at bringing additional megawatts into the country's electricity system through private sector investment in wind, biomass and small hydro, among others.

Earlier this month, Minister Brown told a breakfast briefing that a suitable candidate for the top post had been identified for Eskom. At Wednesday's briefing the Minister said that the Eskom board has submitted three names for consideration to the top post. Matona had been among the candidates listed for consideration.

Matona will head the entity which generates approximately 95% of the electricity used in South Africa and approximately 45% of the electricity used in Africa. Meanwhile, Minister Brown is due to hold a meeting with the Eskom board tonight.

"I will have a meeting with the board and tell them of my decision and tell them of the approval of Cabinet and then the negotiation process starts with the board and with Mr Matona."

In July, the Department of Public Enterprises tabled its budget vote with Minister Brown telling media that there would be a special focus on State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) like Eskom.

Matona holds a Masters Degree in Development Economics from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1994), a Bachelor/Honours degrees in Economics and Political Science from the University of Cape Town (1992). Since then he has completed various certificates including in Executive Management (2005) and Infrastructure Development (2011) from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government (USA).