Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That’s the situation the Eskom board was always going to find itself in, regardless of its preferred candidate for a new CEO. Now that the government has appointed a seasoned business executive who might just get the electricity provider back on its feet, the unions are panicking. Should Andre de Ruyter restore Eskom to operational health, he may just break the unions’ hegemony and cost them many millions in union dues.

Since they can’t yet find anything wrong with De Ruyter’s business competence, both the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) have united around the only "fault" they can find — that he is white. "Why appoint someone competent, known for getting things done?" they cry. Like all tyrants, they had to find plausible cover for their dislike of capable, upright business people: transformation and BEE. A genuine executive at the helm threatens the income they extract from employ...

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