Friday, December 14, 2018
Jabulane Mabuza

Jabulane Mabuza


DRAFTED in by deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, Jabulane (Jabu) Mabuza has the task of saving South Africa’s economic flywheel - Eskom, the state-owned electricity utility. Right now, Eskom is a disaster: the epicentre of the government’s maladministration. Mabuza’s job is to re-build the confidence of investors in Eskom who will be asked soon to fund $1bn in new bonds and roll-over existing debt falling due. Stemming corruption is key to this; so it’s promising that Mabuza is to cleanse the organisation of all senior managers facing graft allegations, including former interim CEO, Matshela Koko and CFO, Anoj Singh. Mabuza also leads a new board which is technocratic in flavour but which nonetheless draws on a diverse skills and experience such as Sifiso Dabengwa, CEO of MTN, Mark Lamberti, founder of Massmart Holdings, two professors, and a nuclear physicist in Pulane Molokwane who currently works in the Presidency. There’s also the task of appointing in three months a new permanent CEO and CFO of Eskom. These have to be unimpeacable appointments that shout to the rooftops Eskom has begun the process of reform. Over and above these points, Mabuza represents the first substantive action taken by Ramaphosa to intervene in the economy (and by-passing public enterprises minister, Lynne Brown in the process). As such, Mabuza takes his place in Rainmakers & Potstirrers as the personification of South Africa’s post-Zuma political order.


A vastly experienced Mpumalanga province businessman with experience in the hospitality, tourism, gaming and brewing industries, Mabuza has served as CEO and chairman of Tsogo Sun, and is the current chairman of Telkom – a company he is recognised to have turned around since his appointment in 2012. Hearteningly for Eskom, which gives employment to 47,600, Mabuza has said that business is unnecessarily complicated by jargon when it is really about the people and closing the deal.