Business

Yadhana Jadoo
3 minute read
6 Jan 2018
7:35 am

Widespread anger over Eskom’s controversial reappointments

Yadhana Jadoo

Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises is furious about the reappointment of top Eskom officials fingered in, among other things, corruption.

Eskom this week announced the reappointment of former acting CEO Matshela Koko and former acting group executive for group capital Prish Govender after they were cleared of any wrongdoing in disciplinary hearings.

Koko had faced charges involving conflict of interest in which he failed to declare that a R1 billion tender was awarded to a company in which his stepdaughter had shares. Govender was investigated for allegations of impropriety in the McKinsey and Trillian deal which saw R1.5 billion being paid to it unlawfully.

“We are shocked by the reappointment of Mr Koko,” committee chairperson Zukiswa Rantho told The Citizen.

“Eskom may have their own reasons, but we as a committee first wanted the allegations against him to be investigated by somebody who is independent.”

This would assist the committee to “get to the bottom of the allegations”, she said.

Koko will face the music, however, when the committee calls him to testify as it begins its work in the next few weeks.

“We also want to hear his side and compare it with what we have heard. We want to ask him questions – but now that they have reappointed him we will have to see what else will come up,” Rantho said.

“We do not have powers enough to say this appointment is wrong. But if it is wrong, we will have to prove it.”

Koko is expected to appear following a public enterprises department and the committee’s meeting on its annual work.

“We are still behind on our annual report,” Rantho said.

“Our first meeting will be on the department’s work in the first week. Then we will set up dates to meet with them.”

Speaking on Govender, she added that the committee investigate his relationship with Trillian and its work with Eskom. Following the committee’s probe, it will then make recommendations to parliament.

“I think we will have to make specific recommendations on specific issues. Parliament will then take it through to the relevant departments,” Rantho said.

Civil society organisation the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said it would not take the reappointments lightly and planned to take action.

“We believe that the disciplinary process was a sham,” said Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage. “Any organisation that is serious about rooting out poor governance and individuals who are directly linked to dishonesty would take the matter seriously,” he added.

“One shudders to comprehend how an individual like Matshela Koko can be reinstated at an institution that is in dire straits. We disagree with what has happened and we will be contemplating our reaction to it and the way forward on this matter in the next few days.

“We need to look at what is actionable against this in law. The law guides us as to what can be done about this because everything shows us that something is wrong.”

Duvenage said while organisations and businesses have the right to employ who they want, Eskom is a state-owned entity “that is in a mess”.

“Therefore it’s a serious concern for us. Eskom has lacked the necessary leadership to take it out of the stigma it finds itself in. There are gross inefficiencies, maladministration, corruption … and we are not inspired by people like Koko who has been there for a long time and been part of the problem.

“Whether we write to ministers, whether its petitions or even legal action … we will not sit back and do nothing.”

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