Observers were perplexed this week by the process that led to Andre de Ruyter’s appointment as Eskom CEO. Unexpectedly, the public enterprises minister, rather than the president, made the announcement.

Pravin Gordhan has a hint of Churchill’s Russia about him: he is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Even by his mystifying standards, however, the press release was deeply baffling. It explained that 142 candidates for Eskom CEO were identified in a head-hunting process. Seventeen were short-listed, eight withdrew, the Eskom board interviewed six, four were asked to undergo competency tests, and a “final interview process was undertaken”, after which “the panel ranked three candidates”.

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