Eskom investigating 239 cases of misconduct by officials

Update: This article includes updated comments from Eskom Deputy Chair Sindi Mabaso-Koyana

Cape Town - Eskom is investigating 239 cases of misconduct by officials, the committee on public enterprises heard on Wednesday.

Members of Eskom’s board, including deputy chair Sindi Mabaso-Koyana, acting CEO Phakamani Hadebe and acting CFO Calib Cassim briefed the committee on the utility’s annual performance and turnaround plan.

Mabaso-Koyana spoke on the steps Eskom is taking to address corruption at the power utility. Eskom is finalising investigations into suspended officials and the board is working on instilling a new tone of corporate governance at the power utility.

“The organisation is determined to clear the company of corruption of all its forms. We are investigating 239 cases that come through whistle-blowing channels,” she said. By the end of March 2018, 75 of the investigations had been completed and 39 were already undergoing disciplinary processes.

Eskom has an internal forensic team of 104 members conducting the investigations, including external support, Mabaso-Koyana said. "We do believe that we are fast tracking (the process). Each case is being unpacked and must follow due process."

Since the new board took over in January, five senior management employees, including executives have left given “serious allegations of misconduct”, said Mabaso-Koyana. A further four have been suspended, two will face an independent disciplinary hearing in April and the remaining two will face a hearing in May, Mabaso-Koyana explained.

She said this was the first step the organisation is taking to combat corruption, the board will continue to pursue wrongdoing and take corrective action within South Africa’s legal framework.

Eskom is also implementing mandatory lifestyle audits. A lifestyle audit has been conducted at the executive level and is currently being conducted at two levels below the executive layer, she explained. 

There will also be better monitoring of policy. It is a policy that no employee should do business with Eskom. Audits revealed 24 employees have been identified as conducting business with the power utility. There has been remedial action, and 21 cases have been dealt with. Sanctions for three are still outstanding, Mabaso-Koyana said.

Employees which have been investigated indicated that they were "encouraged" by previous leaders to do business with Eskom. Some of these employees have gone on to join these businesses, Mabaso-Koyana explained. "As a new board – we have re-emphasised policy. Under no circumstances will it be allowed."

These measures are part of an effort to improve on the past and to restore confidence in the organisation which has to access financial markets and re-establish its credibility, said Mabaso-Koyana.

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