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Magubane to leave DoE early owing to health concerns

Nelisiwe Magubane

Nelisiwe Magubane

Photo by Duane Daws

20th March 2014

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

  

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Department of Energy (DoE) director-general Nelisiwe Magubane will vacate her post at the end of March, eight months ahead of her official November 30 contract expiry date, owing to health reasons.

In a surprise statement released on March 20, Minister Dikobe Ben Martins reported that Magubane’s five-year contract had been “re-determined”, as health considerations had become an “impediment in the execution of some of her duties”.

The Minister’s communications adviser, Robert Nkuna, told Engineering News Online that the decision had been made amicably and by mutual consent between Martins and Magubane.

The Minister wished his outgoing director-general well and thanked her “for her contribution to the Department of Energy and to the people of South Africa”.

Magubane was the DoE’s first-ever director-general, having assumed the post in 2009 when the department was separated out from the former Department of Minerals and Energy (DME). In the process the DoE and the Department of Mineral Resources were created.

She had been instrumental in overseeing some key projects and programmes at the department, including the “flagship” Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has received international acclaim.

Tseliso Maqubela, who is deputy director-general: petroleum and petroleum products regulation, had been appointed acting director-general until a permanent replacement had been found. Maqubela has more than 10 years experience in the department, having also been a senior DME official prior to the de-merger.

Nkuna offered assurances that Magubane’s departure would not affect the implementation of the DoE’s current priority programmes, stressing that the department was fortunate to have many “veteran” officials. Besides Maqubela, he made specific reference to deputy director-general Ompi Aphane, who has been involved in independent power producer (IPP) procurement processes, as well as the development of the Integrated Resources Plan for electricity.

Magubane’s departure comes as the market was awaiting details of the long-awaited procurement processes for new baseload and cogeneration IPP projects, which were expected imminently. Nkuna stressed that, should there be any delays, these would not be attributable to the departure of Magubane.

The director-general’s departure coincides with major leadership changes at power utility Eskom, with CEO Brian Dames also set to vacate his post at the end of the month. Eskom is expected to announce an interim CEO soon, with the process to secure a permanent replacement still ongoing.

Nkuna said the director-general position would be advertised, but would not be drawn on a timeframe, saying only that such appointments could take time to implement.

He also refused to say whether a replacement was likely ahead of the May 7 national elections, after which a new Cabinet would be assembled by the President of the party that wins the most votes.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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