The new Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, has turned down a request by the Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatization Agency (PEEPA) to reappoint Joshua Galeforolwe as CEO
Matambo has given the PEEPA board four months to appoint a new CEO. Galeforolwe’s contract was last renewed three years ago after a stand off between cabinet and the PEEPA board.
A Cabinet meeting chaired by the then Vice President Ian Khama had resolved to reappoint Galeforolwe. Cabinet issued a directive that Galeforolwe’s contract be renewed. The PEEPA board, led by the then chairman and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Serwalo Tumelo, refused to honour the cabinet directive saying Galeforolwe’s reappointment was a prerogative of the board.
After weeks of bickering, cabinet prevailed and Galeforolwe was reappointed on a two-year contract with an option to renew his contract for one year.
PEEPA board this week asked Matambo to renew Galeforolwe’s contract, which expired last week. Matambo refused.
This week, it emerged that the board’s term had also expired. Technically, PEEPA has neither a board of directors nor a CEO. Galeforolwe this week asked Matambo to endorse eight names for board appointments. The minister of Finance and Development Planning also refused to endorse Galeforolwe’s choice of names, which would have contravened the PEEPA Act. In a letter to the minister, Galeforolwe acknowledges that appointing the board before advertising vacancies in the board and having candidates interviewed by a panel of experts was irregular, but went ahead and proposed the names of Ketani Sithole, Dithuso Phetlhu, Boikanyo Mpho, Happy Siphambe, Kumbulani Munamati, Martin Makgatlhe, Abel Monnakgotla and Tally Thekiso.
The new minister of Finance and Development Planning, coming at a time when the CEO and board members’ tenure in office expires, is presented with a clean slate to correct all the past wrongs of the privatization authority. For years PEEPA has been in crisis mode.
Crisis rocks PEEPA
The embattled PEEPA was last year thrown into further turmoil when it emerged that the company board of directors had been illegally constituted and all decisions it took may be null and void.
The board of directors had a total of 12 members, which violates the Privatization Policy passed by cabinet and parliament in 2000, while the Privatization Policy says the maximum can be nine.
The Privatization Policy is the constitutive document guiding PEEPA operations.
An investigative story carried exclusively by Sunday Standard revealed that the appointment of an additional five directors to the PEEPA Board violated the Privatization Policy.
The five were appointed after cabinet sought to rein in what they perceived to be a hostile board led by the then maverick Permanent Secretary, Serwalo Tumelo, of the Ministry of Finance.
Against the will of cabinet, Tumelo and his board had sacked PEEPA Chief Executive Joshua Galeforolwe, before cabinet, led by Vice President Ian Khama, flexed their muscle and reinstated him.
New faces were then hastily appointed as PEEPA directors.
States the Privatization Policy, “The board will consist of no more than nine members (including chairman) to allow for substantive discussions.”
The expanded number of PEEPA board members violated the articles that constituted PEEPA as a company, articles which state that “the Company, its Members and Directors shall at all times comply with and be subject to the Privatization Policy as amended from time to time, or a variation of it and any related laws, and in the event of these Articles being contradictory to or being in conflict with the Privatization Policy, the Privatization Policy shall apply.”
The 12 Board Members, whose term has expired, are Blackie Marole (Chairman), Serwalo Tumelo, Parks Tafa, Oabile Mabusa, Reginald Motswaiso, Irene Tlhase, Sadique Kebonang, Jerry Mookodi, Shirley Segokgo, Jimmy Modise, Setshedi Botlhole-Mmopi and Banny Molosiwa.