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Eskom's new CEO confirmed

Dan Marokane

Dan Marokane

Photo by Creamer Media

8th December 2023

By: News24Wire

  

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Daniel Leseja Marokane has been appointed as chief executive officer of Eskom.

On Friday afternoon, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan said Marokane would join Eskom no later than 31 March 2024.

The final date will be announced once he has concluded the handover process with Tongaat-Hulett, where his currently acting CEO.

"Mr Marokane thrives on challenges, has the drive to energetically tackle the challenges confronting Eskom and is also ethically grounded," said Gordhan.

Marokane was previously head of group capital at Eskom. He was forced out of the utility in 2015 in what the State Capture Inquiry found to be a plot conceived by the Guptas and former president Jacob Zuma. The Zondo report found that Marokane's suspension was a "crucial step to pave the way for the capture of Eskom by the Guptas".

Gordhan said on Friday that the board has also been requested to established "a professional, skilled and committed executive team that will collectively lead Eskom through a complex but exciting journey including achieving energy security for our people and the economy, implementing the Eskom Just Energy and concluding the restructuring of Eskom".

"Dan has experience in managing complex strategic, operational and commercial turnaround across the private and public sectors. He also has in-depth knowledge of the Eskom environment. He leads from the front. He will hit the ground running. That is what Eskom and South Africa need right now," said Eskom chair Mteto Nyati in a statement.

"It is an honour to be chosen to lead Eskom at this critical juncture in its history. I look forward to working with the leadership team, Eskom Board, the Shareholder and other key stakeholders to accelerate implementation of the Generation Recovery Plan, the creation of transmission capacity as well as other critical Eskom priorities and chart a path to a sustainable future for Eskom. If it is to be, it is up to us," said Marokane.

The Eskom top job has been vacant since February this year, after former chief executive André de Ruyter abruptly exited his post following an explosive television interview. He gave notice of his resignation in December 2022.  

Marokane was one of more than 400 people who applied for the job. The appointment process has been marred by delays and controversy.

In May, the Eskom board recommended Marokane to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who rejected the nomination after several months. He countered that the board was supposed to submit a shortlist of three candidates.

A new set of names was submitted in September, and amid growing tensions with Gordhan, board chair Mpho Makwana resigned.

Marokane holds a BSc in chemical engineering from the University of Cape Town and a Masters degree in petroleum engineering from the University of London. He also has an MBA from UCT. 

"He has experience working in distressed organisations with visible and pressurised turnaround mandates," Gordhan said on Friday.

"His recent assignment is at Tongaat-Hulett where he stepped up to lead this financially distressed business when its Group Chief Executive resigned."

Marokane was appointed as an executive director at Tongaat in 2019 following an accounting scandal, with former executives including former CEO Peter Staude accused of manipulating accounts for years.

Tongaat, which is now buckling under a debt burden of more than R6 billion and struggling to turn its operations around, was placed in business rescue last year and is still in a battle for survival.

Before being appointed as acting CEO, after former Tongaat CEO Gavin Hudson resigned in February, Marokane was chair of the company’s listed Zimbabwean subsidiary, Hippo Valley Estates Limited.

The company said Marokane "played an important role in internal cash flow optimisation programmes and the management of the company's asset disposals". 

Marokane is a member of the University of Johannesburg Engineering Advisory Board and previously served as member of the UK High Commission Management Board in South Africa.

Trade union Solidarity previously said that Marokane was its preferred candidate.

"The best chief executive for Eskom is the one who will be prepared to steer the energy utility without tolerating political interference or bowing the knee to the ANC government’s misdemeanour.

"It is for this very reason that Solidarity supports Marokane's appointment. In addition to his qualification and experience, he has already proven that he will not hesitate to act in Eskom’s best interests, even if it means losing favour with politicians," Solidarity said.

Edited by News24Wire

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