Eskom’s Group Treasurer will leave the power utility at the end of August.
In a statement on Monday, Eskom announced the resignation of Andre Pillay, who has been with the utility since 2011 when he was appointed as Senior Manager for Funding Execution in the Eskom Treasury department.
He was subsequently promoted to General Manager (Group Treasurer) in September 2016.
The utility said Pillay’s contribution to the successful execution of treasury mandate has been immeasurable adding that it appreciates the role he played in ensuring that Eskom’s funding plans were successfully executed year after year.
The utility has asked Pillay to stay on so as to facilitate a seamless transition.
“We are cognisant of how critical the group treasurer role is for Eskom and have requested that Andre remain in the position for the next two months to ensure a seamless transition and business continuity through the handover process. Andre’s replacement will be announced in due course. We believe that treasury operations will continue with ease with the support of the current treasury leadership,” said Eskom’s Chief Financial Officer Calib Cassim.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Phakamani Hadebe — who was appointed to the top post in January last year — is expected to leave the utility at the end of this month, after utility announced his resignation in May.
Last month, government announced that it will soon announce the appointment of a new CEO following the stepping down of Hadebe.
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa said a Special Appropriation Bill aimed at allocating financial support to Eskom which will be tabled soon. – SAnews.gov.za
An ENSafrica report has revealed evidence of a number of governance failings and wrongdoing at EOH.
Following submission of a forensic report and its recommendations to the board of directors of EOH, the company said its board has assessed the findings of the ENSafrica report and has prepared an interim update on the forensic investigation
The report by the law firm unearthed wrongdoings including unsubstantiated payments, tender irregularities and other unethical business practices.
The wrongdoings are primarily limited to the public sector business centralised in EOH Mthombo and to a limited number of EOH employees, the company said.
Suspicious transactions of R1.2 billion have been identified and are being investigated by ENSafrica, said EOH.
“The exact nature of each of these transactions has not as yet been verified and may relate to legitimate transactions, theft or bribery and corruption payments.”
“ENSafrica will provide the company with bi-monthly updates which will, in turn, inform areas for further investigation and remedial work. EOH will continue to assess the financial impact of the findings.”
The interim ENSafrica report has discovered:
Identification of multiple points of failure in governance and oversight mechanisms, inadequate and ineffective controls and appropriate systems thus creating an enabling environment for wrongdoing.
Opaque Delegation of Authority (DOA) with significant responsibilities granted to a few
EOH employees conspiring with two preferred suppliers / partners to facilitate artificial /
inflated software licence sales.
Systemic use of connected middle-men recognised and used as introducers and sales agents.
Enterprise Development (“ED”) subcontractors used on projects and payments made to such suppliers, where it is questionable whether bona fide work was done by the said suppliers.
Inappropriate gifting, sponsorships and donations.
Payments of R1.2bn (including VAT) to approximately 78 supplier entities are being
investigated to determine whether appropriate work was done for services rendered. It is worth noting that 84% of the payments were made to 20 entities. These payments were largely related to contracts entered into during 2014 and 2017. The majority of these contracts have been completed.
EOH said it has reported the concerns and the details of the parties implicated in the irregularities to the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation or Hawks.
The company has also terminated the employment relationship with individuals who have been directly implicated in the identified wrongdoing.
The suspicious transactions arising from the investigation have been reported to the Financial Intelligence Centre.
“EOH is committed to ensuring that all perpetrators of wrongdoing are brought to justice. EOH has instructed ENS to initiate criminal charges and lodge civil claims to recover losses, as appropriate,” the company said.
“The EOH board will act decisively in respect of any further wrongdoing that is identified during the ongoing investigation, in line with its zero tolerance on corruption policy.”
Troubled JSE-listed technology group EOH has lost two CEOs of its subsidiaries, Nextec and ICT business.
The company announced on Monday that Zunaid Mayet, executive director and CEO of EOH subsidiary Nextec, has resigned as the CEO of Nextec and from the EOH Holdings board and various other EOH subsidiary boards.
His resignation is with effect from 12 July 2019.
Mayet has been at EOH for 10 years and a member of the board for the last two years.
He has been involved in driving the new strategy which included the creation of Nextec.
In order to ensure a smooth transition, the company said Mayet will assist with the handover of Nextec by 31 October 2019. He thereafter intends embarking on a new entrepreneurial venture.
Rob Godlonton has also resigned as executive director and CEO of EOH’s ICT business.
He has resigned from his role as CEO of the ICT business and various EOH subsidiary boards with effect from 12 July 2019.
Godlonton has been at EOH for over 11 years and has been leading the EOH ICT business in South Africa.
In order to ensure a smooth transition, he will assist with the handover of the ICT business by 31 October 2019.
Pumeza Bam has also resigned as a non-executive director from the EOH Holdings board and various other EOH subsidiary boards and trusts with effect from 12 July 2019.
She served EOH as an executive director for 7 years and most recently as a non-executive director for the past two years.
“The board wishes to thank Pumeza, Zunaid and Rob for their commitment and contribution to EOH,” the company said.
EOH Group CEO, Stephen van Coller and Group Financial Director, Megan Pydigadu will assume a caretaking leadership role for the ICT and Nextec business units on an interim basis.
“They will ensure that staff remain engaged and that seamless, high quality client delivery continues,” the company said.
Thryve, South African-based provider of insurance, risk and governance technology solutions, has set up shop in Toronto, Canada.
The new office is aimed at tapping the fast-emerging and growing digital Canadian market.
Thryve is a leading South African company with international partners, providing cloud-based insurance administration, risk management systems and CRM systems to a blue-chip client profile of large South African corporates and insurance intermediaries.
Thryve already operates offices in Johannesburg, as well as in London.
The expansion into Canada comes at a time when that country’s technology ambitions are booming. Canadian businesses have been quietly yet prolifically transforming to make use of digital technologies. The demand for technology skills reflects this demand: according to the CBRE’s Scoring Tech Talent Report, Toronto has created more technology jobs in 2018 than San Francisco and Washington combined.
“The technology sector in Canada is growing at an incredible rate,” said Neer Rama, Force Solutions Product Manager at Thryve.
“We believe that this is the right time to enter the market and offer our cutting edge risk and insurance solutions to a wider audience.”
As part of establishing itself in the market, Thryve is narrowing its offerings for Canada. There will be a major focus on the insurance industry, such as bringing the powerful Salesforce for Insurance CRM to the market.
Another emphasis will be on wholesale solutions for Mutual Insurance companies, as well as tailoring Thryve’s services to meet the different demands in Canada’s diverse insurance environment.
Canada’s appetite for digital services is both large and demanding. Only the best are able to serve such a globally-leading, technology-fueled country.
As it opens its first office in the dynamic North American market, thryve is confident that it will become a valuable and sought-after partner for Canadian businesses
Startupbootcamp (SBC) AfriTech today announced the eleven best tech startups (three of whom are from South Africa) selected to be the latest cohort in the globally renowned, multi-corporate backed accelerator programme.
SBC AfriTech is the African leg of a global family of industry-focused accelerators and this is the third year that it will be held on the continent.
The top 11 startups chosen for the SBC AfriTech 2019 cohort are:
Databotics(South Africa) incorporates Robotics Process Automation, giving customers a streamlined solution geared towards generating value for their client base with the least amount of operational effort.
Rentoza (South Africa) leverages the sharing economy to enable businesses and individuals to list their lazy assets whilst giving customers access to these via a low-cost rental model backed by insurance underwritten by Old Mutual Insure.
Snapslip Holdings (South Africa) is a digital receipting and analytics application that takes data from each receipt and produces spend, trend and predictive analytics for retailers, banks insurance companies and manufacturers to increase their revenue streams.
Asilimia (Kenya) digitises payments for small businesses to enable them to access formal financial services.
Weego (Morocco) is a user-based transport app that helps communities in emergent and developing countries commute, with real-time updates of bus, train and metro arrivals.
HouseAfrica Blockchain (Nigeria) enables all Africans to participate in the real estate investment marketplace. In addition to solving housing deficits, it allows users to profit from sales, rentals or capital appreciation.
Curacel Systems (Nigeria) provides intelligent fraud detection and claim fast-tracking technology for African health insurers.
Yobante Express (Senegal) connects drivers with users, allowing anyone who owns a means of transportation to make money when providing shipping services.
Cinnamon Clubs (Uganda) improves the management efficiencies of social savings clubs through automated bookkeeping, ensuring accuracy, integrity and transparency of club financial activities to members.
Survey54 (United Kingdom) has created a mobile-first platform that uses channels such as voice, bots and SMS to collect data on emerging markets and create unique and robust consumer insights.
YouFarm (Zimbabwe) is a crowdfunding platform that provides farmers with collateral-free finance by getting people to invest in crops and livestock, enabling them to share the profits with the farmers when the produce goes to market. It gives people who don’t own land the opportunity to earn money and participate in the agricultural value chain.
On Monday, 12 August, they will return to Cape Town for the kick-off of the accelerator.
Over a three-month period, they will attend masterclasses, collaborate with corporate partners, and run pilots and proof-of-concepts in order to scale their companies.
The programme will culminate in a Demo Day on Thursday, 7 November when they will showcase their refined products to a network of investors, corporate partners and industry leaders.
Twenty-two startup teams were shortlisted from the 1,900 applications accumulated. They were flown to Cape Town to pitch their businesses over two days to some of the most progressive leaders in the African innovation space, including corporate sponsors, mentors and investors.
“This is the most diverse representation we have ever had with teams from seven different countries across the continent,” SBC AfriTech Programme Director, Nsovo Nkatingi, says.
“Our corporate partners are becoming more sophisticated in their selection process and we are very excited about the potential for commercial agreements with these startups.”
We are entering a digital, intelligent, and fully connected era where everything will be sensing, connected, and intelligent.
As part of its plans to respond to this technological revolution, Huawei wants to make digital services more affordable and equally accessible to all.
“Huawei has been creating value for its customers through innovation. We are doing everything we can to bridge the digital divide and meet the world’s needs for connectivity,” Liang Hua, Chairman of Huawei, said.
“We want to make digital services more affordable and equally accessible to all, and to do our part in contributing to social and economic development.”
On Friday, Huawei launched its 2018 Sustainability Report, which explains the company’s four strategies for sustainability: digital inclusion, security and trustworthiness, environmental protection, and a healthy and harmonious ecosystem.
A new generation of information and communication technologies like the Internet of Things, big data, and artificial intelligence are now the new engines of socioeconomic growth. They are also increasingly a part of our day-to-day lives.
Huawei, as a global provider of ICT infrastructure and smart devices, believes that ICT is creating a better future for humanity, and will play a key role in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said Hua.
Huawei has created a digital inclusion initiative called TECH4ALL, which involves efforts to spread connectivity, applications, and digital skills.
“It is helping to extend digital inclusion, and ultimately aims to bring the benefits of digital technologies to every person, home, and organization,” said Hua.
“We are committed to developing innovative technologies to deliver ubiquitous connectivity. Our mobile network base stations are lighter than ever. That has made it easier for our customers to quickly build new networks at lower costs, connecting 100 million rural residents and making connectivity for remote regions a reality.”
“We want to bring the benefits of digital technology to every person, home, and organization. To this end, we have launched a global digital inclusion initiative called TECH4ALL. For example, our RuralStar solution has connected 40 million rural residents as of the end of 2018.,” Kevin Tao, Board Member and Chairman of Sustainable Development Committee of Huawei, said.
“We currently provide communications services to over three billion people around the world, and we are committed to supporting secure network operations worldwide.
“We honour this commitment no matter what. For example,” he said.
“In 2018, after a magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit Indonesia, Huawei was the first and the only vendor to the scene.”
Tao also announced Huawei’s new sustainability strategies, which include two major changes.
First, Huawei has expanded its strategy of bridging the digital divide into a digital inclusion strategy. Building on connectivity, the company is now also paying more attention to applications and skills.
Second, its strategy of supporting stable and secure network operations and protecting user privacy has been upgraded into the “security and trustworthiness” strategy.
Huawei incorporates sustainability in everything it does – in its innovation, value creation, and value sharing with its partners – so that it can deliver greater business value and social value. Looking forward, Huawei will work even harder and do its part in building a better, sustainable future.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says a special bill on Eskom — aimed at finding a roadmap of the power utility’s recovery — is currently being drafted.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, Gordhan said, will soon introduce a Special Appropriation Bill aimed at bolstering Eskom’s cash position soon.
Gordhan on Thursday briefed journalists in Cape Town ahead of participating in a debate on his department’s budget vote in Parliament.
“We have begun the work on the paper itself and we have brought all the role players together. We should have a draft very soon for government to look at,” the Minister said.
This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa directed the department to formulate a special paper on the future of Eskom. The main focus of this paper will be: outlining the future energy environment; financial arrangements for Eskom; address the indebtedness of Eskom; restructuring of Eskom; identifying cost-saving including coal costs, staffing costs and the introduction of capital efficiency, and operationally sustaining high energy availability.
Gordhan said Eskom faces operational, financial and structural challenges driven by massive cost and time overruns on the new build program; a collapse in governance; unsustainable debt levels; underinvestment and poor maintenance of plants, which has led to increased diesel usage, eroding Eskom’s cash position.
“In seeking to stabilise the financial situation at Eskom in the short-term, the Minister of Finance will introduce a Special Appropriations Bill in Parliament in the near future,” he said.
Additional funding for Eskom through contingency reserve
Leading the debate on the National Treasury on Thursday, Mboweni said in addition to the support announced during the February budget, he was considering introducing the Special Appropriation Bill in the National Assembly on 23 July 2019 after consultation with Parliament.
During his State of the Nation Address last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government would table a Special Appropriation Bill on an urgent basis to allocate a significant portion of the R230 billion fiscal support that Eskom will require over the next 10 years.
Mboweni said the tabling of the Appropriation Bill was aimed at making available additional funding for Eskom for the current and next financial year.
“As indicated in the February budget, National Treasury, in consultation with the Department of Public Enterprises, has developed the terms of reference and scope of work for the Chief Restructuring Officer and the appointment will be made soon.
“Once the annual Appropriation Bill, currently before Parliament, is law, additional financial support will be provided to State-owned entities – namely SAA, SABC and Denel from the contingency reserve.”
Mboweni said, however, that the additional government support cannot be a blank cheque to the SOEs.
“We really and truly cannot go on like this. A broad strategic framework in the form of a Green Paper, which will culminate in a White Paper, will be published.
“This will deal with the future that the government expects SOEs to play in a fast-changing micro and macro-economic environment.
“In some cases, such as aviation and broadcasting, various companies are making profits and providing good quality service. Yet SOEs in the same sectors, operating under the same economic conditions, are relying on government bailouts. We cannot allow this to continue.” – SAnews.gov.za
This article is part of our occasional long read series Zoom Out, where authors explore key ideas in science and technology in the broader context of society and humanity.
“Design” has been one of the big words of the twentieth century. To say that an object has been designed implies a level of specialness. “Designer items” are invested with a particular kind of expertise that is likely to make them pleasing to use, stylish, or – less common in late-capitalist society – well made.
Due to this positive association, design has become an “elevator word”, to borrow a phrase used by philosopher of science Ian Hacking. Like the words “facts”, “truth”, “knowledge”, “reality”, “genuine” and “robust”, the word design is used to raise the level of discourse.
“Repair” hasn’t had such a glossy recent history. We don’t have universities or TAFEs offering degrees in repair, churning out increasingly large numbers of repairers. Repair exists in the shadow of design, in unfashionable, unofficial pockets. And, until recently, repair mostly passed unremarked.
British literary scholar Steven Connor points to the ambiguous status of repair in his analysis of “fixing”. Connor discusses fixing and fixers in the context of related figures, such as the tinker, bodger and mender, all of which share outsider status.
One might be forgiven for thinking “design” and “repair” were opposing forces. The former word has become so bound up with notions of newness, improvement, performance and innovation that it emphatically signals its difference from the seamful, restorative connotations of repair.
If repair is hessian and twine, design is sleek uniformity. Repair is about upkeep. Design is about updating. Repair is ongoing and cyclical. Design is about creative “genius” and finish. To design is, supposedly, to conceive and complete, to repair is to make do.
But perhaps design and repair are not, or ought not to be, as divergent as such a setting of the scene suggests. Thinking metaphorically of repair as design, and design as repair, can offer new and useful perspectives on both of these important spheres of cultural activity.
Repair and design have a lot in common
As a surface sheen that soothes us, design distracts us from any uncomfortable reminders of the disastrous excesses of global capitalist consumption and waste. The acquisition of new “designs” becomes addictive, a quick hit of a fresh design assures us that life is progressing.
As each new object is designed into existence and used over time, it is accompanied by an inevitable need for repair that evolves in parallel. Repair, where possible, cleans up the mess left by design.
Design and repair are different though related approaches to the common problem of entropy. Repair might seem only to be about returning an object to its previous state, whether for functional or decorative purposes. But maintaining that state is a hard fought affair, no less invested by collective or personal value.
The act of repair is also a determinate of worth. Whether at an individual or collective scale, choosing to repair this, and discard or neglect that, shares much in common with the process of selection, which informs the design of objects, images, garments or spaces.
Apple is revered for its design
Apple’s outgoing Chief Design Officer Jonathan Ive’s influence at Apple is among the most popularised examples of “successful design”, to which other designers and design students have long aspired. With Ive’s departure from Apple this year, we have an opportunity to take a long view of his legacy.
Since the distinctive bubble iMac in 1998, Ive shifted computing away from the beige, boxy uniformity of the IBM PC era, aligning computing with “high design” and investing it with deep popular appeal.
Even prior to Ive’s influence – take for example the 1977 Apple II – Apple’s industrial design has played a fundamental role in transforming computers from machines for tinkerers, into desirable objects of self-actualisation, blending leisure and labour with incomparable ease.
The iPhone is one among a suite of Apple products that have changed cultural expectations around consumer electronics, and other smart phone manufacturers have followed suit.
The ubiquity of iPhones makes it increasingly difficult to appreciate their strangeness. Not only do they appear sealed beyond consumer access, they almost induce a forgetting of seals altogether. The glistening surface expresses an idea of inviolability which is completely at odds with the high likelihood of wear and tear.
The iPhone is perhaps the ultimate example of a “black box”, an object that exhibits a pronounced distinction between its interior mechanics, which determine its functionality, and its exterior appearance. It gives nothing away, merely reflecting back at us through its “black mirror”, to borrow the title of Charlie Brooker’s dystopian television series.
The design of the iPhone – among other similar devices – forecloses against repair, both through its physical form, and also through the obsolescence built into its software and systems design, which defensively pits individuals against the power of a giant multinational company.
‘Right to repair’ is gaining ground
Apple deliberately discourages its customers using independent repair services. It has a track record of punishing people who have opted for independent repairs, rather than going through Apple (at much greater expense). This is an example of the company’s attempt to keep its customers in an ongoing cycle of constant consumption.
This has put Apple – along with the agricultural equipment company John Deere – in the crosshairs of the growing Right to Repair movement in the United States. Right to Repair is centred on a drive to reform legislation in 20 US states, targeting manufacturers’ “unfair and deceptive policies that make it difficult, expensive, or impossible for you to repair the things you own”.
The movement could perhaps be criticised for focusing too much on libertarian individualism. Other groups advocate more community-focused repair strategies, such as the global proliferation of Repair Cafes, and Sweden’s groundbreaking secondhand mall, ReTuna Recycling Galleria.
This legacy of digital technology’s “anti-repairability” has been accepted as inevitable for some time, but the tide is turning. For example, the Victorian government has banned e-waste from landfill from July 1.
Designing for the future
Considering the increasing importance of responsible production and consumption, it is easily imaginable that, in a not too distant future, designers and design historians might point to the iPhone as naive, regressive and destructive. An example of design with thoroughly dated priorities, like the buildings in the Gothic revival style that provoked the ire of modernist architects.
Obscuring the wastage of valuable resources through sleek design could be decried as an outrageous excess, rather than celebrated for its “simiplicity”. With the benefit of hindsight, we might finally see that the iPhone was the opposite of minimalism.
Perhaps the revered objects of this imagined future will be launched by an entrepreneur who spruiks features and services associated with repair, rather than pacing the stage, championing an object because of its slimness, sleekness and speed. Hackability, ease of access, modularity, spare parts and durability might be touted as a product’s best features.
Alternatively, if the use of an object is decoupled from individual ownership, the responsibility for repair and waste might fall back on the producer. Perhaps “repair bins” will become a taken for granted feature of the urban landscape like curbside recycling bins are today.
To compel the pragmatists among us, such wishful thinking needs to remain mindful of the power multinationals have demonstrated in thwarting dreams of open access. Repair-oriented practices still face vast challenges when it is seemingly so convenient to waste. But to use one of the words of the day, aspirations need to be articulated if we, collectively, want to have the chance of living the dream.
JSE-listed Blue Label Telecoms has moved to reassure investors about the concerns about Cell’s prospects.
Blue Label Telecoms, the biggest shareholder in Cell C, said that no material concerns or issues have been uncovered as a result of Cell C’s new management conducting a deep dive into the business practices of Cell C in a drive for efficiencies.
“This is an on-going process and shareholders will be updated as progress is made.”
On Wednesday, it emerged that Cell C’s management has finally accepted (publicly) that the company faces financial and other challenges.
The struggling mobile phone operator is planning to implement a new business plan which will simplify its business model, which will include a second recapitalisation of the company.
The company has appointed Deloitte as independent financial restructuring advisors, and Bowmans attorneys to “investigate any parts of the business where we suspect that there may be irregular business practices”.
“In anticipation of the transaction resolving the liquidity position at Cell C, and launching the new, improved operating model, Cell C’s management and board are ensuring that Cell C is sufficiently geared to run the business as required,” Blue Label Telecoms said in a statement on Thursday.
Blue Label and the Buffet Consortium are fully apprised of Cell C’s drive to effectively and efficiently utilise all of its network, technology and human capital assets, and are supportive of management’s initiatives, reads the statement.
“Blue Label looks forward to advising shareholders on the progress of transactions, which are currently at an advanced stage.”