Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter could face a parliamentary inquiry following a complaint lodged against him with the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) by the power utility’s suspended chief procurement officer.
Suspended Solly Tshitangano sent an official letter to Scopa last month accusing De Ruyter and other managers of sidelining black suppliers in supply chain processes, among other claims.
Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the allegations against the CEO were “very serious and complex”, and needed to be investigated.
He said the committee would receive legal advice on Wednesday afternoon how to proceed with the investigation.
“I will consult with legal and I propose that we set up a process which will substantively look at these matters. A committee investigative hearing to be scheduled at the earliest convenience while observing all the necessary legal protocols at play and for Eskom to also be allowed to time to pursue its own internal disciplinary processes,” Hlengwa said.
Hlengwa said the claims made by Tshitangano predated his suspension and he did not consider the letter to be a response to his disciplinary process.
“I believe that this matter does require our attention and we needed Eskom here to take us on board on the status of what I can only now call a formal compliant leaked to the committee… here is an official in Eskom presenting to us very serious allegations,” he said.
ALSO READ: CEO paints sobering picture of Eskom’s woes
Eskom board chairperson Professor Malegapuru Makgoba told the committee he became aware of Tshitangano’s allegations last year in February.
He said the complaints by the procurement officer were not “spontaneous” but came after De Ruyter confronted him about his alleged poor performance.
“He sent me the letter that he had copied to the office of the president and he had also copied it to the office of the minister [Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan].
“I went through this letter with the allegations that were contained in it and I came to the conclusion that this was a matter that was really within the realm of the executive management because the reasons for this letter arose when the CEO confronted Mr Tshitangano about his performance,” Makgoba said.
Hlengwa said he would forward Tshitangano’s letter to De Ruyter to afford him the opportunity to respond.
Tshitangano would also be invited to appear before the committee.
“Once we have received guidance on how to structure the inquiry or hearing committee, we will then schedule how we move forward,” Hlengwa said.