Eskom explains why suspensions of top brass were lifted

Cape Town – Eskom said there is nothing "untoward" about the processes followed and decisions made about the suspensions of certain employees at the power utility.

In a statement issued over the weekend, Eskom’s group executive of human resources Elsie Pule said she wished to "set the facts straight" following allegations in the public domain in the past week.

Business Day reported on Thursday that five senior officials at the power utility were suspended as a result of their deals with Trillian, after the paper had seen the suspensions letters.

On Wednesday it emerged that Eskom’s head of procurement, Edwin Mabelane, and the acting commercial general manager, Charles Kalima, were suspended. Three other suspension letters were written, but never issued, including that of Prish Govender, head of group capital.

By the end of last week, however, the employees were at work again. 

Pule said while Eskom can confirm that suspensions occurred during the past week, the “affected individuals” were called upon to make written representations to motivate why the preliminary decision to suspend them should not be made final.

READ: ANALYSIS: There will be blood at Eskom 

“[This is] in line with our procedure on the basis of preliminary precaution with pay and with immediate effect, the affected individuals,” Pule said, adding that the employees were expected to submit their representations within two working days of receipt of the letter, which they did.

“Upon receipt of their representations on August 17 2017, the respective line managers of these employees, assisted by HR, considered them and in turn decided to lift the preliminary suspensions,” Pule said.  

“Messrs Edwin Mabelane and Charles Khalima could therefore not be procedurally kept away from work.”

According to Pule, the process followed is in strict compliance with the Eskom disciplinary procedure as well as established labour law principles.

As far as the disciplinary matter against suspended head of generation Matshela Koko is concerned, Pule denied that the power utility is "dragging its feet".

READ: Eskom reveals 8 steps it has taken in Koko disciplinary matter 

She said the report by both Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr and Nkonki - the two firms tasked with the investigation into the allegations levelled against Koko - went through an entire process of edification, as critical documents, presentations and submissions by various parties internally and externally were required in strict accordance with a fair process.

“We don’t believe that the ‘dragging of feet’ allegation is based on a fair assessment of the prescribed process against the actual steps taken thus far on the Koko matter,” she said. 

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