Sasol boss Priscillah Mabelane to lead board of Eskom’s National Transmission Company of SA

Priscillah Mabelane will lead the board of the wholly Eskom-owned National Transmission Company of South Africa. Picture: Supplied

Priscillah Mabelane will lead the board of the wholly Eskom-owned National Transmission Company of South Africa. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 9, 2024


The Eskom Board has appointed Sasol executive Priscillah Mabelane and 11 others with extensive leadership, governance and technical experience to the board of the National Transmission Company of South Africa, an Eskom wholly-owned company born out of the unbundling process announced four years ago.

Mabelane will be the chairperson of the board.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during his second State of the Nation Address in February 2019 that the struggling Eskom would be unbundled into three different companies focusing on generation, transmission, and distribution.

“To bring credibility to the turnaround and to position South Africa’s power sector for the future, we shall immediately embark on a process of establishing three separate entities—Generation, Transmission, and Distribution—under Eskom Holdings.

“We need to take bold decisions and decisive action. The consequences may be painful, but they will be even more devastating if we delay,” said Ramaphosa at the time.

On Tuesday, the Eskom Board said it was pleased to announce the appointment of the Board of Directors of the National Transmission Company of South Africa (NTCSA).

The NTCSA already registered and received approval for the requisite licenses from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) last year.

Mabelane will be the chairperson of the NTCSA Board, with Dr Brian Armstrong as the lead independent director and Lungile Mashele, Carmen Le Grange, Anu Sing, Nkosinathi Solomon, Professor Mark Swilling, Auke Lont, Professor Francis Petersen, Sedani Mudau, Dr Busisiwe Vilakazi, and Tryphosa Ramano also appointed to the board.

Two of the 12 board members, Vilakazi and Ramano, also serve on Eskom’s board.

Eskom board chairperson Mteto Nyati said: "The appointment of the NTCSA Board takes Eskom a step closer to unlocking the potential that comes with the planned transformation of the electricity industry.

“We thank all the individuals who raised their hands to guide Eskom into a future where South Africans have a reliable, affordable, and environmentally friendly supply of power”.

Eskom has also shared the credentials of each appointed board member.

– Ms Priscillah Mabelane, chairperson of the NTCSA Board.

Mabelane is the Executive Vice President: Energy Business for Sasol. In her role at Sasol, she is advancing the company's aspirational vision to lead the Just Energy Transition in Southern Africa and to unlock South Africa's potential to be a global green hydrogen and derivatives player. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant with experience in leadership, corporate finance, strategy, energy, and risk. She is responsible for upstream and downstream gas activities as well as the distribution, marketing, and sales of liquid fuels in Southern Africa. She is leading strategy formulation for the energy business, which will support and steer a stakeholder-centric approach to spurring sustainable growth.

– Dr Brian Armstrong, lead independent director

Armstrong is one of the foremost Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry leaders in South Africa, with over 30 years of top-level management experience in Telecommunications, Information Technology, Technology Research and Development (R&D) and Systems Engineering, both in South Africa and abroad.

Brian Armstrong. File Picture: Leon Nicholas / Independent Newspapers

He is a thought leader in digitalisation, convergence, and business strategy. In July 2017, he joined the Wits Business School as Professor in the Chair of Digital Business. He was Group Chief Operating Officer and Group Chief Commercial Officer of Telkom.

– Ms Lungile Mashele

Mashele is an Energy Economist, an award-winning energy professional, and a banker with more than 12 years of energy industry experience in Africa. She provides technical due diligence services to close project finance deals within the energy sector. Her skills include providing specialist advice related to finance, development, energy, costing, and economics within the energy sector. She is currently an Energy and Infrastructure Specialist at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and has also worked as an Energy Economist and Energy Specialist at Eskom and at the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) on oil and gas, renewables, coal, nuclear, and hydro projects in West, East, and Southern Africa.

– Ms Carmen Le Grange

Le Grange was the Chief Financial Officer of Denel. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant with 22 years of experience in auditing and consulting in the accounting profession and was previously a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

She has had operational responsibility for several partners and associate directors of PwC, where her focus was the development of the strategy for growth, the identification and development of resources, and leveraging the value in the area of business resilience. Her expertise encompasses leadership, corporate finance, risk, and audit.

– Ms Anu Sing

Sing has more than 25 years of experience at the board and executive levels. She has had three successful careers: as an engineer, an investment banker, and in telecommunications.

In her last corporate role, she spent five years with the MTN Group, where she fulfilled roles such as Group Executive Business Intelligence, Group Executive for Strategic Business Operations, and General Manager Passive Infrastructure, where she led the setup of MTN GlobalConnect, MTN's wholesale business. As an investment banker, she participated in several landmark deals across multiple sectors, including energy, mining, heavy industry, manufacturing, financial services, and real estate. Her qualifications include an MBA and a BSc in Mechanical Engineering.

– Mr Nkosinathi Solomon

Solomon holds an MBA (Cum Laude) degree and a BSc in Chemical Engineering. He has sound board-level experience, specifically related to leadership and governance. Solomon has a good understanding of the energy landscape. He has experience leading transforming organisations. His competencies include strategy formulation, people change management, and being an experienced board member.

Nkosinathi Solomon. Picture: Supplied

– Professor Mark Swilling

Prof Swilling was the Chairperson of DBSA until September 2023. He is the co-director of the Centre for Sustainability Transitions at Stellenbosch University. His primary research focus is on'societal transitions' within the wider discipline of sustainability science and goverance, with a particular contextual focus on urban sustainability. His published research was coupled with major institution-building collaborations—an achievement that was recognised in 2010 when he was awarded the Aspen Faculty Pioneer Award for success in introducing sustainability into leadership education. In addition to over 60 academic articles/book chapters, he has published several books, including (with Eve Annecke) Just Transitions: Explorations of Sustainability in an Unfair World (2012), runner-up Harold and Margaret Sprout Award for best environmental governance book; Untamed Urbanisms (2015); and Greening the South African Economy (2016).

– Mr Auke Lont

Lont is highly recognised internationally in the transmission system operator environment. He was the CEO of Norway's Statnett. He was part of an international group of CEO peers and understands the South African electricity market reform context. He has more than 25 years' experience in the energy industry. Lont holds a Master of Economics from Vrije University in Amsterdam.

His many previous roles include Managing Director of consulting company Econ Pöyry Analysis, Norway; Senior Vice President Statoil; Nordic Energy, Senior Economist; and Managing Director Econ Analysis, Cape Town; and Managing Director of Naturkraft AS.

– Professor Francis Petersen

Petersen is the Rector & Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State in South Africa. He has formerly been Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Dean: Engineering & the Built Environment at the University of Cape Town, Executive Head: Strategy at Anglo American Platinum, Executive Vice-President: R&D at Mintek, and Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Cape Technikon (now the Cape Peninsula University of Technology).

University of Free State Vice-Chancellor Professor Francis Petersen. Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

He graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with the B Eng (Chem), M Eng (Metal) and PhD (Eng) degrees. As Executive Head: Strategy, he was a member of the Executive Management of Anglo-American Platinum Limited.

– Ms Sedani Mudau

Mudau is the Executive Director of Favest Advisory Pty Ltd, Chairperson of the Board of Sentech SOC Ltd and a Non-Executive Director of Ellies Holdings Ltd. She is a seasoned finance professional, a qualified Chartered Accountant, and a registered Auditor. She also has an MBA from the University of Witwatersrand. She is licenced as an experienced business rescue practitioner by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and a registered business turnaround specialist with TMA-SA and SARIPA. She is also registered with the Institute of Directors (IOD) and the Independent Regulator Board of Auditors (IBRA).

She has served in management and executive roles in the private and public sectors for over 19 years and served as the Chief Financial Officer of the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa for approximately seven years, where she maintained clean audits.

– Dr Busisiwe Vilakazi

Dr Vilakazi holds a DPhil in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford. She is the Head of Research and Innovation at SITA and a former Senior Researcher at the CSIR.

She has experience and skills in ICT Research and Innovation, Data Science & Analytics, Strategy, Digital Transformation. She is also currently a non-executive director of the Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd Board of Directors.

– Ms Tryphosa Ramano

Ramano is a Chartered Accountant and holds a bachelor's degree in commerce (BCom) and postgraduate diploma in Accounting and Finance. She is a corporate governance expert and strategist and has experience in financial services, manufacturing, aviation, and entrepreneurship. She worked as a Chief Financial Officer in various companies and served as a non-executive director in various listed and unlisted companies. She is also currently a non-executive director of the Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd Board of Directors.

Tryphosa Ramano. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi / Independent Newspapers

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