Chairperson of EOH, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, has died, the technology group said in a notice to shareholders issued on Monday morning. Dr Mkhwanazi passed away peacefully in the early hours of Saturday morning, 4 January 2020 at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Parktown Johannesburg, having been admitted on 14 December 2019,” the notice read. The 65-year old Mkhwanazi also served as an independent non-executive director of the Public Investment Corporation, and mining company South32. He was also chancellor of the Vaal University of Technology.
Mkhwanazi was appointed as chairperson of EOH in June last year to assist with the turnaround of the embattled IT service provider, one of the largest in Africa. Earlier in 2019, Microsoft barred EOH from selling software licences, following a complaint from a whistleblower to US market authorities about alleged corruption in a software deal between EOH and the SA department of defence. An investigation commissioned by the board found R1bn worth of fraudulent contracts between the company and the public sector.
EOH has since blacklisted and suspended payments to 50 implicated enterprise development partners, Fin24 previously reported. The company has been trying to restore its reputation following allegations of corruption, and several of its board members have resigned due to the reconfiguration.
“During this period Dr Mkhwanazi braved a difficult time always striving to do the right thing. He grasped the issues and dealt with them quickly. He will be sorely missed.”
EOH said Andrew Mthembu, a lead independent non-executive director, has been appointed interim chairperson. In a separate statement South32 also honoured Mkhwanazi for his contribution to the company. Mkhwanazi joined South32 in July 2015.
“With significant experience in mining and metals and expertise in science, Xolani played a critical role in the establishment of South32 and made a valuable contribution to the Sustainability Committee based on his deep understanding of social and environmental issues,” the notice read. Mkhwanazi had brought with him experience from having served as chairperson of BHP Billiton chairperson and as president and chief operating officer of South Africa Aluminium. He was also previously the CEO National Energy Regulator of South Africa.
“Xolani was greatly admired for his grace and his wisdom. He was a scientist and an esteemed business leader with a passion for South Africa, its people and the resources sector. His contribution was felt throughout the company and we will miss him greatly,” said South32 chairperson Karen Wood. Mkhwanazi held a PhD in applied Physics from Lancaster University. He was awarded an honorary degree from Lancaster in July 2019.
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