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Sasol’s Mabelane to head board at Eskom’s unbundled grid company, NTCSA

Priscillah Mabelane

Priscillah Mabelane

9th January 2024

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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The inaugural board of directors of the National Transmission Company of South Africa (NTCSA), which was announced by the Eskom board on Tuesday, will be chaired by Priscillah Mabelane, who is also the executive VP of Sasol’s energy business.

The long-awaited appointment represents a significant milestone in the legal separation of Eskom into three separate entities of generation, distribution and transmission, as outlined in the Department of Public Enterprises’ 2019 ‘Roadmap for Eskom in a reformed electricity supply industry’.

NTCSA’s separation has been prioritised given the importance of having an independent transmission entity for levelling the playing field in an electricity supply industry that is transitioning to include multiple generators rather than relying primarily on Eskom as a vertically integrated monopoly.

The NTCSA is already registered as a business and last year received approval for the three requisite licences from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa.

“The appointment of the NTCSA board takes Eskom a step closer to unlocking the potential that comes with the planned transformation of the electricity industry,” Eskom chairperson Mteto Nyati said in a statement, while thanking the incoming NTCSA board members for raising “their hands to guide Eskom into a future where South Africans have reliable, affordable and environmentally friendly” electricity supply.

At Sasol, Mabelane is playing a central role in the JSE-listed group’s own ‘Just Energy Transition’ away from its current reliance on coal to produce transportation fuels and various chemicals, with Sasol having outlined a vision for unlock South Africa’s potential to be a global green hydrogen and derivatives producer.

She is a qualified Chartered Accountant, and the Eskom statement adds that she has experience in leadership, corporate finance, strategy, energy and risk.

“She is responsible for upstream and downstream gas activities as well as distribution, marketing and sales of liquid fuels in Southern Africa. She is leading strategy formulation for the Energy Business which will support and steer a stakeholder-centric approach in spurring sustainable growth,” the statement reads.

The 11 members of the board were identified as including:

  • Dr Brian Armstrong, who has been appointed as the lead independent director, and who has 30 years of top-level management experience in the telecommunications, information technology, research and development and systems engineering sectors, both in South Africa and abroad, including as COO and chief commercial officer of Telkom;
  • Lungile Mashele, an energy economist and banker with more than 12 years of energy industry experience in Africa, including in her current position as an energy and infrastructure specialist at the Public Investment Corporation;
  • Carmen Le Grange, a qualified Chartered Accountant with 22 years of experience, including being a former Denel CFO;
  • Anu Sing, who has more than 25 years of experience at board and executive level, including five years with the MTN Group;
  • Nkosinathi Solomon, who holds an MBA degree and a BSc in Chemical Engineering, and is described as having a good understanding of the energy landscape, as well as experience in leading transforming organisations;
  • Professor Mark Swilling, who ended a stint as Development Bank of Southern Africa chair in September 2023, and who is the co-director of the Centre for Sustainability Transitions at Stellenbosch University;
  • Auke Lontm who, with 25 years of industry experience, is described as being highly recognised internationally in the transmission system operator environment, having been CEO of Norway’s Statnett;
  • Professor Francis Petersen, who is the Rector and Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State in South Africa and previous executive head of strategy at Anglo American Platinum;
  • Sedzani Mudau, who has 19 years of business experience and is the executive director of Favest Advisory, board chairperson at Sentech and a nonexecutive director of Ellies Holdings;
  • Dr Busisiwe Vilakazi, who holds a DPhil in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford and is the Head of Research and Innovation at SITA; and
  • Tryphosa Ramano, a Chartered Accountant, who is described as a corporate governance expert, strategist and has experience in financial services, manufacturing, aviation, and as an entrepreneur.

The NTCSA is expected to be operationalize by the start of the new financial year on April 1, but Eskom said that further announcements regarding the NTCSA would be made at the right time.

No update was provided regarding the status of bondholder support for the unbundling, which is, together with licence awards and the appointment of the board, a condition for NTCSA’s operationalisation.

 


 

 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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