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This week Telkom said it would pay about R720m in dividends to the government, its single largest investor with 39.8%. That’s from an annual R3.3bn profit for the year ended March. On the other hand, Phakamani Hadebe will soon present a disastrous set of financial results for Eskom’s year to the end of March. The approximately R20bn net loss will be Hadebe’s swansong, since he announced last week that he has quit, as his health has been suffering. It makes him the utility’s 11th CEO since 2009. There have also been about that number of different boards, and as many chief financial officers over that period too. The situation of the two companies shows clearly what works, and what doesn’t. Telkom has been paying dividends and taxes consistently since the board and management team led by Jabu Mabuza and CEO Sipho Maseko took over in 2011. On the other hand, Eskom has been haemorrhaging skills and cash since 2009, and relying on cash bailouts since 2014. While Telkom has been a paradis...

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