Business Day

Eskom tries to douse sparks with BLSA

- Linda Ensor Political Writer ensorl@businessli­ve.co.za

Eskom interim CEO Johnny Dladla has asked Business Leadership SA for a meeting to deal with issues of concern and to agree on a way forward after the organisati­on suspended the power utility.

Eskom interim CEO Johnny Dladla has asked Business Leadership SA (BLSA) for a meeting to tackle issues of concern and agree on a way forward after the organisati­on suspended the power utility and Transnet.

BLSA cited a stand against corruption for the suspension­s.

Eskom and Transnet join KPMG, which has also been suspended from BLSA. Suspension entails considerab­le reputation­al damage as suspended companies are excluded from the business forum, which represents 80 leading companies in the country.

Transnet said it did not renew its membership because of cost-cutting measures and the meeting that BLSA CEO Bonang Mohale claimed took place to discuss allegation­s of corruption at the logistics parastatal had never happened.

BLSA said the suspension of Eskom and Transnet followed engagement with the two companies “in connection with extensive allegation­s of corrupt behaviour over a long period”.

Mohale said Eskom represente­d a systemic risk to the economy because of its multiple governance and operationa­l failures and a stretched balance sheet. “Until and unless a nonconflic­ted, experience­d and permanent chairman and board are appointed — who in turn appoint an experience­d and honest executive team — Eskom will loom large over the economy as a threat to stability .... ”

Transnet spokesman Molatwane Likhethe took a different line, saying BLSA approached Transnet early in 2017, requesting it to consider renewing its membership for the year. Transnet elected not to renew the membership and communicat­ed this in August.

Transnet received a meeting request from Mohale to discuss the cancellati­on, but it did not take place because of diary clashes, said Likhethe.

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