Eskom’s board of directors has long been distinctly underpowered in terms of both quantity and quality. The appointment of a new board is therefore welcome. So too is the clear mandate that public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan seems to have given it to keep SA’s lights on. But it is not yet clear whether this is the board to enable a turnaround at the power utility. Certainly it is no quick fix.  

When Gordhan finally announced the new appointments on Friday, he was doing no more than he should have done many months, if not years, ago. The old board had shrunk to just a handful of nonexecutive directors whose terms of office had technically expired at least 18 months ago. The board and Eskom’s own executives had repeatedly urged Gordhan and his government colleagues to appoint new and more nonexecutive directors, without success. The reasons for the long holdup are not clear, but contestation within the ANC over who should be deployed was surely part of it...

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