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Zuptoid pawns falling: suspended Eskom CFO Anoj Singh quits, what about Koko?

JOHANNESBURG — Ask any Vaalie, when it rains it certainly pours, and if one applies this logic to the Zuptoids, they are getting a soaking. Two days after the South African government overhauled the Eskom board, and a day before he faces a parliamentary inquiry on mismanagement of funds, suspended CFO Anoj Singh handed in his resignation, with immediate effect. This after Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba appealed to him and former acting CEO Matshela Koko to resign in a report by eNCA journalist Karyn Maughan. Saying: “At times it’s not just about your own ego. It’s also about the interests of the country, and the company itself, to which you are committed.” Koko has however said he’ll continue working until asked to leave. The noose around Zuptoid appointees is certainly starting to tighten as this news follows that which saw the Asset Forfeiture Unit make moves to claw back £1.6bn from graft-tainted consultancy McKinsey and financial services firm Trillian. While prosecuting authorities obtained an order to take control of a farm linked to the siphoning of funds from Free State coffers to Gupta bank accounts around the world. The trigger for these sudden changes… 18 December 2017 when Cyril Ramaphosa was elected ANC president. Change occurs two ways, gradually then suddenly, suddenly has arrived. – Stuart Lowman

By Ana Monteiro

(Bloomberg) – The suspended chief financial officer of South Africa’s cash-strapped power utility resigned a day before he’s due to face a parliamentary inquiry on mismanagement of funds and two days after the government overhauled the company’s board.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. received a letter of resignation from Anoj Singh’s attorneys Monday, the Johannesburg-based electricity producer said by email.

Former Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh

He resigned with immediate effect, it said.

Eskom suspended Singh in late September after placing him on special leave in July following the CFO being linked to a series of questionable deals. These include transactions with Trillian Capital Partners Ltd., a local partner of U.S. consulting company McKinsey & Co. that had links to the Guptas, wealthy businessmen working with President Jacob Zuma’s son who are alleged to have used their relationship with the leader to win lucrative contracts from state companies. They all deny wrongdoing.

The government appointed a new board for the utility at the weekend to try address governance concerns raised by lenders, who told the company to fix issues before they would make more funds available. The new board includes high-profile South African executives including Telkom SA SOC Ltd. Chairman Jabu Mabuza, who was named chairman at Eskom, as well as Imperial Holdings Ltd. CEO Mark Lamberti and former MTN Group Ltd. CEO Sifiso Dabengwa.

Biggest Risk

The utility is spending billions of dollars on delayed power plants and is the largest recipient of state guarantees at a time when South Africa’s finances are buckling under lower tax revenue and higher debt. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in September that Eskom, which has more than R400 billion ($33 billion) due in interest and debt payments in the next five years, was the biggest single risk to the economy and that the government needed to replace its management.

Eskom will ask banks for funding commitments to return its liquidity buffer to the required R20 billion, spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said by phone on Monday. The yield on the Eskom bond due in January 2021 fell two basis points to 5.53 percent by 9:10 a.m. in Johannesburg on Tuesday, adding to a 37 basis point drop on Monday. This takes the rate to the lowest since Nov. 7.

Singh is due to appear before lawmakers who sit on the portfolio committee on public enterprises, which is holding an inquiry into the problems at Eskom.

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