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Tech personality Mteto Nyati ‘ideal choice’ to lead troubled Eskom

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo
Johannesburg, 10 Oct 2023
Mteto Nyati has been appointed as Eskom board chairperson.
Mteto Nyati has been appointed as Eskom board chairperson.

Former Altron and MTN South Africa CEO Mteto Nyati has been appointed as chairperson of the Eskom board.

This, after public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan yesterday announced Mpho Makwana had decided to step down as chairperson and non-executive director of the Eskom board at the annual general meeting scheduled for the end of October.

He added that Nyati will be appointed as chairperson of the board of directors of the power utility.

The minister noted Makwana will utilise the remainder of October to handover to the new chairperson of the board.

Nyati’s appointment comes after he resigned from Nedbank’s board of directors on Friday. He also recently stepped down from the Telkom and Massmart boards.

In November last year, Nyati, through his investment vehicle Wazo Investments, bought a controlling stake in Johannesburg-based consultancy firm Business Systems Group (BSG). He owns a 40% interest in BSG.

The home-grown BSG competes with multinationals such as Deloitte, Accenture and KPMG in the South African and African consultancy space.

In 2013, he was the joint winner of the IT Personality of the Year Award with the late professor Barry Dwolatzky.

Nyati’s appointment comes as the embattled power utility has been struggling to supply electricity to South Africa for a number of years.

Amid the power crunch, Eskom has had to implement frequent load-shedding in order to avoid a total grid collapse.

The state-owned company supplies over 90% of South Africa’s electricity needs.

“I am grateful for the opportunity afforded me by the government of the Republic of South Africa to serve a second term as chairperson of the board of directors of Eskom,” Makwana said.

“I wish Eskom and its people success and thank its committed stewards for their unstinting efforts to revive the utility. I thank the minister for the positive, amicable manner upon which we conclude my tenure.”

“We wish to thank Mr Makwana for his contribution during the most difficult time for Eskom. We wish him well in his future endeavours,” Gordhan said.

“Our efforts to stabilise Eskom and restructure it into three subsidiaries – generation, transmission and distribution – remain on track. As government, we are committed to ensuring Eskom has the right skills, talent and experience to support our pursuit of a more secure energy future for South Africans.”

Civic body Public Interest SA has welcomed Nyati’s appointment to the hot seat.

In a statement, the organisation says: “Nyati, a distinguished and accomplished businessman known for his exceptional track record in revitalising numerous prominent South African companies, and has already made significant contributions to Eskom’s performance since his earlier appointment to the board, is the ideal choice to lead Eskom during this pivotal phase of restructuring into three distinct subsidiaries – generation, transmission and distribution.

“In our view, the decision to appoint Mr Nyati to this critical position reflects a well-informed and judicious move by public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan and government.”

According to Public Interest SA, this appointment ensures a seamless transition and the continued stability of Eskom, which has exhibited noteworthy improvements under the capable leadership of the outgoing Makwana.

“We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Mr Mpho Makwana for his dedicated stewardship of Eskom throughout his tenure,” says Tebogo Khaas, chairperson of Public Interest SA.

“Alongside his esteemed colleagues, Mr Makwana's tireless efforts to stabilise the company have undoubtedly begun to yield positive results. South Africa owes a significant debt of gratitude for Mr Makwana’s unwavering service and invaluable contributions during Eskom's challenging times.”

“In closing, we take this moment to extend our warm welcome to Mr Nyati, wishing him every success in his new role. Furthermore, we extend our best wishes to Mr Makwana for his future endeavours,” says the civic body.