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Board pledge

“We have a duty to ensure adherence to principles of good governance and accountability as well as to foster a culture of diversity, inclusion and respect. We will give the management team our unwavering support as it strives to rebuild EOH into a business all stakeholders can be proud of.”

The EOH Board of directors

Q: Dr Mkhwanazi, what were your first impressions of EOH when you were appointed as Chairman in June 2019?

I was mindful to look beyond the headlines and saw the tremendous value, technology innovation and entrepreneurial spirit upon which EOH was built. I found a business with some of the best minds and solutions in the technology industry, with exceptional potential to drive progress and service delivery across the African continent.

I found a new executive team, under the leadership of Stephen van Coller, which was committed to fixing the past and was putting in place the building blocks of the EOH of the future. This included the daunting task of leading an investigation in the midst of high stakeholder scrutiny.

From the very beginning, I was drawn to its uncompromising commitment to transparency and zero tolerance for corruption as a Board and Executive Committee (‘EXCO’). I believe that this will be one of the defining factors in rebuilding our reputation as Africa’s leading technology business.

There is no doubt that this past year will stand out as one of the most transformative in the history of EOH.

Q: How do you view EOH in the context of the operating environment?

Our South African democracy and society have been greatly impacted by the scourge of corruption. It is an anchor that drags us all down, a millstone around the necks of productive citizens. It increases the costs of doing business, stunts competitiveness and has a negative impact on growth and jobs.

There is no doubt of the potential of technology to drive progress and secure long-term economic growth. The fourth industrial revolution in the South African context refers to new ways in which we introduce and use technology into our societies.

Many of our citizens do not have access to basic services but EOH has the potential to power both the private and public sector to redress inequality by creating an inclusive digital economy and society.

Q: How is the Board working with the executive management to address the findings of the investigation into governance irregularities and rebuild one of Africa’s largest technology company?

When you do not have a sound governance framework, you create an enabling environment for wrongdoing; and given what we have been through as the EOH business, we are now intensely focused on putting the building blocks in place for good governance.

When ENSafrica was appointed to conduct an expanded investigation into governance irregularities, it was given unfettered access to the business. The Board and EXCO are committed to acting decisively to address the findings of the report. Where parties are found to have been complicit in wrongdoing at EOH or whether they demonstrated a clear lack of leadership, accountability and poor judgement, we will hold them accountable.

The role of a skilled board of directors and the responsibilities of directors to prevent and act on corruption, in a clear and compelling way is crucial. Corruption is more likely to flourish where governance structures are weak and where there is insufficient oversight and appetite at the executive level.

We as a board have assisted and supported the management team in the strategic work being done to revise the corporate structure, implement risk management and mitigation initiatives, appoint new leadership and increase transparency, accountability and reporting.

Q: What has been EOH’s approach to increasing transparency?

The systemic and far-reaching nature of EOH’s business in both the public and private sector has resulted in high scrutiny and interest from our stakeholders. While it is always good practice to engage transparently and robustly with stakeholders, it has been especially crucial during the challenging time we have been through as a business.

I certainly believe that the leadership team’s commitment to consistent and transparent communication with key stakeholders including staff, lenders, regulators and clients has stood EOH in very good stead in building trust and confidence.

Q: What are the priorities of the Board and the executive management in the year ahead?

We are focused on embedding the newly adopted strategy to create a more efficiently structured and managed business for enhanced client delivery. We are working to retain and attract the best talent in the technology industry to drive innovation and growth in the core businesses.

Very importantly, we are focused on returning value to our shareholders and delivering to a broader set of stakeholders.

Q: What is your message to the people of EOH?

The Board is grateful to CEO, Stephen van Coller and the extended EOH leadership team for their determined leadership throughout this challenging process.

We also wish to thank all the whistleblowers who acted with integrity and did the right thing in coming forward during the investigation process. We thank ENSafrica and investigating partners, XTND, for their tireless efforts and commitment to a robust, transparent and fair process.

Importantly, the Board would like to thank EOH employees who continue to serve clients with excellence and integrity. The overwhelming majority of people desire to work for an ethical business and do their work with integrity. Allowing the corrupt activities of only a few people to taint an entire business – or a country – must never be allowed.

Our best contribution to South Africa, beyond the far-reaching provision of best-of-breed technology services to our clients, is to run an ethical business and contribute to meaningful social and economic growth.

We have a commitment to all of our stakeholders and pledge to help the executive management of EOH create and maintain value for all its stakeholders.

Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi