Antoinette Slabbert
3 minute read
26 Jan 2018
2:23 pm

Koko’s job is safe for now

Antoinette Slabbert

Labour Court issues interim order.


The Labour Court in Johannesburg just issued an interim order restraining Eskom from unlawfully terminating its head of generation Matshela Koko’s contract of employment: In breach of the terms of conditions of his employment and /or on the basis of a directive issued to it by government in a statement put out on Sunday 21 January 2018 stating: “The board is directed to immediately remove all Eskom executives who are facing allegations of serious corruption and other acts of impropriety, including Mr. Matshela Koko . . .” The return date to court has not yet been determined, but it is expected to be within the next two weeks.

Eskom’s embattled head of generation Matshela Koko is currently in the Labour Court in Johannesburg applying for an interdict to prevent Eskom from firing him on Friday.

This follows an ultimatum put to him on Thursday to resign before 10:00 on Friday because he is seen as “the face of corruption” at Eskom, or be dismissed.

Koko refuses to resign, saying he has done nothing wrong.

The return date is February 6.

In an affidavit in support of his application, Koko says “institutions of state have embarked on a frenzied campaign against all and sundry that can … be said to have been associated with alleged ‘state capture’ by the now notorious Gupta family (with whom I have no ties whatsoever)”.

“That has given rise to a trampling on the rights of citizens as is evident also from the government statement of Sunday, January 21 2018. It is also exemplified by the proceedings of the Portfolio Committee in Parliament insofar as persons who are believed to have been involved as participants or facilitated ‘state capture’ are treated in the most despicable manner, being defamed and insulted, and subjected to questioning, taking turns, until the late hours of the night.”

He is asking for an order to refrain Eskom terminating his employment unlawfully based on government’s statement that executives including Koko “facing allegations of corruption” should be fired, to declare the ultimatum put to him unlawful and void and order Eskom to refrain from issuing a similar ultimatum, to order Eskom to comply with Koko’s employment contract before terminating his service, to interdict Eskom from preventing Koko from doing his job and to pay the costs of the application.

Koko states in his affidavit that South Africa’s four banks, who are funders to Eskom, government and the minister of finance Malusi Gigaba are putting pressure on Eskom to terminate his employment. This he labels extortion.

He says unless Eskom resists this, it is complicit.

He points out that he has been found not guilty in an Eskom disciplinary process and is not facing any other charges.

He describes how Eskom’s designated interim CEO Phakamani Hadebe put the ultimatum to him on the afternoon of January 25, giving him less than 24 hours to resign or be dismissed.

He refers to three other managers at Eskom who were given similar ultimatums and were subsequently fired on January 24.

Koko questions Hadebe’s authority to act on behalf of Eskom and says he has “nowhere to turn except to the court to protect myself”.

Developing story.

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