October 6, 2017 / 11:31 AM / 9 months ago

South Africa's crisis-hit power utility appoints a new acting CEO

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 6 (Reuters) - South Africa’s scandal-plagued state-run power utility Eskom said on Friday it was appointing Sean Maritz, its group executive for information technology, as acting chief executive and would soon look for someone to permanently fill the role.

Eskom, which provides virtually all of the power for Africa’s most industrialised economy, has lurched from one crisis to another in recent years, raising concerns about its ability to keep the lights running.

Martitz’s appointment comes against the backdrop of a corruption scandal that has rocked the company and mounting concerns about its frail balance sheet and general governance.

Eskom on Thursday asked consultancy firms McKinsey and Trillian to pay it back 1.6 billion rand ($117 million), saying that an internal inquiry had found that the utility’s decisions to make the payments were unlawful.

Maritz replaces Johnny Dladla, acting CEO since June. Eskom said in a statement that Dladla will resume his role as CEO of Eskom Rotek Industries, a subsidiary of the utility that provides it with construction, maintenance and transportation services.

Eskom will appoint a new board and begin the search for a new chief executive at a special meeting in November, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown told lawmakers on Wednesday. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by James Macharia)

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