News / South Africa / Breaking News

Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
28 May 2021
5:41 pm

Eskom CPO Solly Tshitangano dismissed with immediate effect

Molefe Seeletsa

Tshitangano was suspended in February this year and was charged on several grounds of misconduct, including non-performance.

Picture: Michel Bega

Power utility Eskom has dismissed its Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) Solly Tshitangano with immediate effect following a guilty verdict in his disciplinary process.

In a statement released on Frida evening, Eskom confirmed that it had received a report from the chairman of Tshitangano’s disciplinary hearing.

Eskom said that Tshitangano was found guilty on five charges, which included “serious misconduct in failing to carry out his duties, contravening the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA)and contravening Eskom’s Disciplinary Code in that he divulged confidential information to external parties”.

Tshitangano was suspended in February this year due to his failure to turn around Eskom’s procurement division and was charged on several grounds of misconduct, including non-performance.

He was also accused of failing to disclose his relationship with Eskom’s supplier Econ Oil.

‘Disciplinary hearing’

Eskom had hired law firm Bowmans to put together a forensic report for Tshitangano’s disciplinary hearing, while two witnesses also testified in the case.

“At his disciplinary hearing, he sought to place reliance upon alleged disclosures to trigger a defence based on the Protected Disclosures Act and Eskom’s Whistle Blowing Policy.

“The chairman of the hearing, an independent advocate, determined that he would provide the CPO with an opportunity to answer to the supplementary misconduct charges relating to Econ Oil’s relationship with Eskom and the apparent support by the CPO of the continuation of that relationship after he had joined Eskom in early 2019, before ruling on the protected disclosure application.”

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Eskom indicated that Tshitangano did not give any evidence in his defence during the proceedings.

“While Eskom relied on the evidence of two witnesses, together with a forensic report from law firm Bowmans, the CPO elected not to give any evidence in his own defence. His legal representative did, however, cross examine Eskom’s witnesses.

“The chairman dismissed the defence based on protected disclosure, finding that it was rather an attempt on the part of the CPO to divert attention from his conduct.”

The power utility further  said that the disciplinary committee chairman had recommended Tshitangano’s dismissal “as the only appropriate sanction”

“Eskom has accordingly implemented the recommendations. The former Chief Procurement Officer was today dismissed with immediate effect. This concludes Eskom’s internal processes on the matter.”

‘Racism accusations’

Tshitangano had sent an official letter to  the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) following his suspension accusing Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter and other managers of sidelining black suppliers in supply chain processes, among other claims.

He accused De Ruyter of favouring white-owned companies over black-owned companies without any investigation.

This saw Eskom resolving to appoint an independent inquiry into allegations against de Ruyter, which has since been put on a hold by Scopa.

The committee agreed to allow the power utility to first carry out its internal investigation. Eskom was since given 90 days to complete its investigation into the allegations.