Thursday, 17 June 2021

Johannesburg: Eskom has expressed its heartfelt condolences over the passing of former Eskom board chairperson, Jabu Mabuza.

According to reports, the former chairperson and businessperson passed away on Wednesday, 16 June, after contracting COVID-19.

Eskom board chairperson, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, has remembered his predecessor as someone who led the power utility during one of the most difficult periods in the organisation’s history.

“He was an exemplary leader and an advocate for clean governance. We are grateful for his service at Eskom and salute him for his enormous contribution to our country. His legacy will live on,” said Makgoba.

The 63-year-old was first appointed to serve on the Eskom Board of Directors by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 20 January 2018.

Following the departure of the Group Chief Executive on 31 July 2019, he assumed the responsibility of the board chairperson and acting Chief Executive Officer.

He resigned from the organisation in January 2020.

The State-owned entity believes that great strides were made during his tenure in addressing allegations of financial mismanagement and a host of issues related to lapses in governance processes and other internal controls within the organisation.

“These efforts resulted in the stabilisation of Eskom, improving investor and public confidence and laying a solid foundation for the organisation’s turnaround. May his soul rest in peace.”

Meanwhile, the business community is also mourning Mabuza’s tragic passing.

In a statement, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) President, Sipho Pityana, said he was lost for words.

“The passing of Jabu is tragic, devastating and a great loss for business and our country.”

He described Mabuza as someone who played a leading and pivotal role as a business leader with foresight and courage, a role model to many, a phenomenal human being and a gentle soul.

“He lifted himself by his bootstraps, moving from being a successful small entrepreneur to becoming my predecessor as president of Business Unity South Africa.

“Along the way, he became a powerhouse in the South African economy, occupying leadership positions in several South African corporates,” he said.

These include Tsogo Sun, where he was CEO, and SA Breweries, as well as in the public sector.

“I will always regard Jabu as a true leader, a man of integrity, and someone who was never afraid to speak his mind. He will be sorely missed at a time when we need all hands on deck to resolve the massive challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on business and society.”

BUSA Deputy President Martin Kingston said he was “dumbfounded” at the sad and tragic passing of a patriot and friend.

“Our country has lost a beautiful person and a great leader. We remember his lovely nature and his outstanding leadership, both in the private and public sectors.”

BUSA CEO Cas Coovadia recalled the time he worked with Mabuza when he was President of BUSA and Co-Chair of the CEO Initiative.

“He had a character and personality that was contagious. He led with courage, honour, and honesty. He was a true patriot.”

The organisation has since expressed their sincere condolences to the family.

“We stand with Jabu’s family in this terrible time. We cannot begin to imagine their pain and sorrow and we offer our support and wishes to help them through this painful period.”

President Ramaphosa pays tribute to Jabu Mabuza

President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his deep sadness at the passing of  Jabu Mabuza, describing him as an outstanding business leader.

“The President’s thoughts are with Mr Mabuza’s family, friends, business associates, employees and members of his global network of business partners and leaders,” the Presidency said.

As an entrepreneur and mentor to many, Mabuza built an outstanding career in business, which spanned his entrepreneurship as a taxi driver and owner, and his rise to chairing some of South Africa’s largest industrial groups and multinational enterprises.

“He will be remembered for his pathfinder contribution to township and rural economic participation during the apartheid era through his roles in the Southern Africa Black Taxi Association and the Foundation for African Business and Consumer Services (FABCOS),” the Presidency said.

Mabuza also championed black economic participation and inclusive growth through his leadership of Business Leadership South Africa and Business Unity South Africa.

“COVID-19 has once again struck deep, hard and indiscriminately to deprive our nation of one of our finest and most inspiring compatriots.  Jabu Mabuza was a monumental figure on so many terrains of our national life.

“He provided inspiration and leadership to many, from Daveyton, where he started his illustrious career as a taxi driver, to Davos, where he made his presence and values felt in global debates.

“We will miss the warmth of his personality, the forthrightness of his engagement on questions of national importance and the multiple precedents he set and led in the transformation of our economy.

“It is a profound loss that someone who believed so passionately in a better future for our country has been taken from us in the prime of his contribution to our nation.” the President said.